Android Users: 17 Rogue Apps to Delete

John Lister's picture

A security company has spotted 17 rogue Android apps that users should immediately delete. All 17 apps were approved by the Google Play store, where they managed to get past Google's security checks.

Bitdefender, which published the list of apps, says the apps aren't malware as such. However, they use tactics associated with malware creators and could seriously inconvenience users. Bitdefender dubs this as 'riskware'.

The List Of Shame

The apps to immediately delete are:

  • 4K Wallpaper (Background 4K Full HD)
  • Backgrounds 4K HD
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Car Racing 2019
  • Clock LED
  • Explorer File Manager
  • File Manager Pro - Manager SD Card/Explorer
  • Mobnet.io: Big Fish Frenzy
  • Period Tracker - Cycle Ovulation Women's
  • QR & Barcode Scan Reader
  • QR Code - Scan & Read a Barcode
  • QR Code Reader & Barcode Scanner Pro
  • Screen Stream Mirroring
  • Today Weather Radar
  • Transfer Data Smart
  • VMOWO City: Speed Racing 3D
  • Wallpapers 4K, Backgrounds HD

In each case the app is advertised as performing a particular function and does indeed do so - which is one of the reasons they passed Google vetting. (Source: bitdefender.com)

The problem is that the apps show ads unexpectedly on a semi-random schedule, which that makes them difficult to predict. In some cases, the user may not even be certain the app is responsible. The ads can appear even when the user isn't actively using the app.

Apps Split And Hidden

As well as the ads being unexpected, they can significantly contribute to battery drain and could cause problems for people on limited data plans. It also appears the apps are sending potentially sensitive data such as precise location to ad servers.

The operators of the app used some sneaky tactics to hide their activities, including setting the app to hide the ad-related code 48 hours after installation. That may have helped it pass Google Play checks, which look for such suspicious activity during a short operational test.

The code for the app was also split into two files. That made it significantly harder for security analysts looking at individual files to figure out exactly what was going on. (Source: express.co.uk)

What's Your Opinion?

Do you keep an eye out for reports that apps on your phone may be suspect? Should Google warn users when they have an app installed that's since been removed from the Google Play store over security concerns? Do you broadly trust the Google Play vetting or do cases like this undermine your confidence in it?

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