Even though adware is hidden by design, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself
Following the discovery of adware apps in June and a report from a 12-year-old Czech girl in September, the team at Avast has uncovered another set of malicious apps in the Google Play Store.
This time, the apps in question are 21 gaming apps that come packed with hidden adware that is part of the HiddenAds family. According to SensorTower, a mobile apps marketing intelligence and insights company, the apps have been downloaded approximately eight million times thus far.
“Developers of adware are increasingly using social media channels, like regular marketers would,” Jakub Vávra, Threat Analyst at Avast, says. “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,”
The HiddenAds malware disguises itself like a fun or useful application — in this instance, games that promise to virtually “let your car fly across the road, trees, hills,” to shoot criminals from a helicopter, or virtually iron their clothes — but actually exist to serve up intrusive ads outside the app. They also frequently hide their icons, so they can’t be deleted, and hide behind relevant-looking advertisements, making them hard to identify.
“While Google is doing everything possible to prevent HiddenAds from entering its Play Store, the malicious apps keep finding new w ..