A BleepingComputer article revealed that security researchers had discovered 75 applications on Google Play and another ten on Apple’s App Store, which is engaged in ad fraud.
Both have accumulated 13 million downloads which can be alarming. The adware floods users with visible and hidden advertisements and the fraudulent apps generate revenue by impersonating legitimate apps.
The adware isn’t necessarily a direct threat, but operators may use them to infect Chrome with a malicious extension and redirect user traffic to advertising sites to generate income by using click fraud.
Another article by BleepingComputer mentioned that Palo Alto’s Unit 42 even noticed certain malware was developing into an info-stealer. Usually, the purpose of this is so they could flash ads based on your search history, but it could very well steal personal information saved within your browser as well as saved passwords.
Which Apps Should I Avoid?
HUMAN’s Satori Threat Intelligence team identified mobile apps that are a part of the new ad fraud campaign called “Scylla.” This was regarded as the third wave, which originated from the same operator who also created “Poseidon” and “Charybdis,” respectively.
For Android users, Play Protect can actually detect the apps with adware immediately unless you have the security option disabled. As for Apple, they are still not clear on how to remove the fraudulent apps once it’s already installed. If you find the following apps on your phone, it will be best to uninstall them immediately
Loot the Castle (iOS)
Run Bridge (iOS)
Shinning Gun (iOS)
Racing Legends 3D (iOS)
Rope Runner (iOS)
Wood Sculptor (iOS)
Ninja Critical Hit (iOS)
Tony Runs (iOS)
Super Hero-Save the world! (Android)
Spot 10 Differences (Android)
Find 5 Differences (Android)
Dinosaur Legend (Android)
One Line Drawing (Android)
Shoot Master (Android)
Talent Trap (Android)
How Will I Know If I Have Adware?
Since adware takes up a lot of a lot of memory space, you might notice your computer starting to slow down. And since this will generate pop-up ads that can’t be closed or will redirect you to other pages, the user experience will become more and more irksome.
You will also notice that your programs are starting to crash or your device freezes, and the only thing left to do is to unplug directly from the power source. This could be due to unwarranted changes in your browser’s homepage, which can subject you to new extensions, plug-ins, software applications, or toolbars.
You’ll also notice common webpages not displaying properly and in places they should not appear in.
How To Prevent Adware?
Security.org suggests that you should install an antivirus that will detect malware. Some antivirus programs will go as far as automatically restricting downloads from suspicious sources. You may also install software updates since there have been security patches that prevent this kind of situation.
Avoid downloading apps from questionable sites. The App Store and Google Play Store scan all apps for malware, so they already do the screening for you with or without an antivirus, though, like mentioned above, some still slip through the cracks.
Don’t click pop-up ads, especially those that offer fast and easy ways to achieve something that seems too good to be true. This is likely clickbait and will cause you more harm than good as it may be adware.
Lastly, beware of phishing. Emails, links, and websites could appear legitimate even if they are not. If you are unsure of it, it’s best to use a URL Checker such as Google’s Transparency Report.