Be wary if you recently downloaded a Bluetooth tool, it may be among the four apps riddled with viruses. Tech experts claim that over one million combined downloads of the four apps were made by Android users. The four apps that have allegedly been contaminated with Malware were on Google Play Store and managed to go past pre-installed systems of detection for viruses before ending up on the Online Store.
The four apps were found to be hosting a type of malware known as HiddenAds. Users are unable to detect these types of malware because the cyber crooks cunningly use a delay tactic to attract users into feeling that they are cyber secure.
These false senses of security mean that you will not notice that anything is wrong at that very moment, making you overlook any sense of suspicion for the app so you don’t delete it. The app will not alert you because it starts doing dirty tricks only after a few days of installing it.
The malware will automatically start opening up phishing sites in Chrome. Many of these sites are used as a pest to source ad money from users but other sites are dangerous as they aim at tricking unsuspecting users.
Malwarebytes is the company that discovered this scam and according to them, one out of the four apps included adult content that drew people to phishing pages. Once there the users are told that their device has been infected or that they should perform an update of their system.
What has been more worrying about the whole affair is how the malware can secretly open tabs in the background even when you have locked your device.
Malwarebytes warned that “When the user unlocks their device, Chrome opens with the latest site. A new tab opens with a new site frequently, and as a result, unlocking your phone after several hours means closing multiple tabs.” The company then highlights that users will likely notice that their user browser history “will also be a long list of nasty phishing sites.”
Which apps have been affected by the malware?
The affected four apps found containing the HiddenAds malware are all Bluetooth-related apps. The names of the apps are:
- Bluetooth App sender
- Mobile transfer: smart switch
- Bluetooth Auto Connect
- Driver: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
All users who have downloaded these apps are being encouraged to immediately delete them for security reasons. After uninstalling these apps it is wise to also run an installed credible anti-virus scanning software on your device.
If you don’t have one try to download one from a trusted source and let it run so it can detect any cyber-related issues that may be exposing you.
Users must also be on high alert even when downloading apps from trusted places like Google Play Store since hackers are using seemingly innocent apps to get past security systems that can warn people of dubious apps.
Viruses can be spread by installing these types of apps and this can result in hackers stealing your personal information and login credentials, spying on you using your devices, and worst still clearing out your bank accounts.
So it’s very important to regularly scan devices for malicious malware. Android users can also use the Google Play Protect feature which is a free tool available for Android users to do scans on their apps.
This tool checks user devices and apps for harmful activities and can deactivate or even remove an app if it looks harmful or malicious.
Apparently, the tool can be used to scan apps that you have not downloaded yet but want to on Google Play Store. You can check to see if the tool is automatically on by going to the Google Play Store app and checking if the setting is on by default.
This recent malware scare follows another that happened in September 2022 when Android phone users along with Huawei and Samsung users were also warned against a bug that had made its way into some apps.
The bug or malware riddled itself into some apps and had the potential of stealing the login details of users, then bank details which could lead to hackers stealing users’ money.
The malware reappeared in September after it was officially discovered in March and all Huawei and Samsung phone users were urged to delete the apps that were infected.
The infected apps were Kylhavy Mobile Security and Mister Phone Cleaner app which were banned by Google after the discovery.
The SharkBot malware when in operation was able to create fake logins to online services on user devices allowing hackers to steal personal and sensitive information such as passwords and usernames.
The malware could as take out money from mobile bank accounts exposing people to bankruptcy. The apps had over 60,000 downloads combined.
Last month Google banned over 16 apps that are popular among Android users and urged users to delete them as the apps were considered dangerous. The 16 apps were banned from Google Play Store and were believed to be hosting malware that could lead to cybercrimes being committed. The apps were downloaded over 20 million times with one getting over 10 million downloads.
McAfee, the company that discovered the strain of malware in the 16 apps wrote in a blog post that “Recently the McAfee Mobile Research Team has identified new Clicker malware that sneaked into Google Play.
In total 16 applications that were previously on Google Play have been confirmed to have the malicious payload with an assumed 20 million installations.
McAfee security researchers notified Google and all the identified apps are no longer available on Google Play.” The company also reminded users of how they can stay protected with Google Play Protect. Users are being encouraged to stay alert when downloading apps as most don’t seem dangerous when being downloaded.