HiddenAds Malware Hides as Games to Infect Android Phones with Adware
Google has removed 21 malicious apps from the Google play store. The harmful apps contain HiddenAds malware which serves up annoying and unstoppable advertisements on an infected device. In total, the apps have racked up about eight million downloads by unsuspecting Android device users.
HiddenAds malware was disguised as games and other entertainment apps to trick people into downloading them. The cybercriminals behind this adware often use social media to infect as many devices as possible. This time the apps were promoted on YouTube. Adware and other malware can slip through security checks in app stores by disguising themselves as games, productivity tools, or other entertaining apps.
The 21 malicious apps contain adware that serves up advertisements on infected devices. The ads may pop-up uncontrollably even when the fake game is not open. HiddenAds can even open up a web browser that’s installed on an infected device to start serving ads.
Malware and other harmful or intrusive apps often hide their presence on a phone by hiding their icons. Adware is a form of malware. HiddenAds Is a Trojan meaning it downloads more malware after a user is tricked into taking the initial download.
“This time, users reported they were targeted with ads promoting the games on YouTube. In September, we saw adware spread via TikTok. The popularity of these social networks make them an attractive advertising platform, also for cybercriminals, to target a younger audience,” says Jakub Vávra, Threat Analyst at Avast.
This isn’t the first time HiddenAds malware has been discovered on the Google Play store. In June Google removed 47 apps From Google Play because they were spreading HiddenAds.
HiddenAds Malware Apps
- Rolling Scroll
- Helicopter Attack – NEW
- Assassin Legend – 2020 NEW
- Helicopter Shoot
- Rugby Pass
- Flying Skateboard
- Iron it
- Shooting Run
- Plant Monster
- Find Hidden
- Find 5 Differences – 2020 NEW
- Rotate Shape
- Jump Jump
- Find the Differences – Puzzle Game
- Sway Man
- Money Destroyer
- Desert Against
- Cream Trip – NEW
- Props Rescue
How do I protect my phone from malware?
You may need to use an antimalware app to protect your phone from malware. In the case of HiddenAds malware, the adware may continue to show intrusive ads even if the downloaded game has been uninstalled. Learn how to spot suspicious apps and downloads to help protect your phone in mobile devices from malware apps.
- Never download an app from outside the official Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
- It may be okay to download an app directly from the app’s creator as long as it’s a reliable and well-known name. For example, some VPNs offer more functionality when you download them directly from their sites – like NordVPN, IPVanish, or Private Internet Access
- Never download an app from a link or advertisement from within a game or other app. Malicious apps often target young people and teenagers knowing they’re more likely to click on a link from within a game to download something fun.
- Never given any app more permissions than seems reasonable. For example, there’s no reason why a game needs access to all of your emails or text messages.
- Be cautious when granting an app permission to access all of your contacts. Although many legitimate apps use this to help you connect with friends who are also playing, malicious apps steal contact lists to spread malware to your friends.
- Before downloading any app from app store, read the reviews. If an app is sketchy or harmful other readers are likely to have left comments of what damage this app is done to their phone.
After installation, the malicious apps may hide their icons to make themselves hard to remove.
If your phone or tablet starts acting strangely after a download, then remove it straight away. You may need the help of antivirus software to remove a malicious app. Read our guide and the signs your phone is hacked.