Adware disguised as 9 fake apps found to be installed more than 8 million times

  • This is the second time this week that adware apps have been found on Google Play Store.
  • These malicious and fake apps help the app developers generate ad revenue.

A security researcher has uncovered a batch of new adware apps that have been installed for over eight million times. This is the second time in a week that adware apps have been found on Google Play Store. Previously, around 85 apps that included adware core were discovered to have been downloaded for over 9 million times across the world.

Type of malicious apps

Lukas Stefanko, an IT security researcher at ESET discovered 9 Android apps spamming users with unwanted ads. Once installed, these apps do not function as they are intended to operate. On pressing any button, these apps display full-screen ads which are quite annoying for the users.

“The unwanted code is hidden in 'not working' apps that once launched, hide itself from user’s view and display ads. All these apps are fake without any promised functionality,” said Stefanko in a Twitter post.

The list of malicious apps includes Remote control, TV remote controller, TV remote controlling, Remote for Air conditioner, Remote for television for free, Air conditioner remote control, Universal TV remote controller, Remote control for the car, Remote control for TV and home electronics.


Among these 9 malicious apps, four witnessed over 500,000 installs, with one having a total count of over one million installs.

According to Stefanko, none of the apps are actually real and their sole purpose is to bombard users with ads to generate revenue for their app developers. One of these malicious apps has been developed by Tools4TV, a developer that has been active since 2015.

Remote control for TV and home electronics is the oldest of all the nine apps and has amassed over five million installs since June 28, 2018. Commenting on the app, Stefanko told BleepingComputer that Remote control for TV and home electronics app contained the adware functionality when it was uploaded to Google Play by developers.

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