More and more people are doubting the different capabilities of the smartphone. Can you hear us? Can you see us without our knowledge? Can you take some of our personal information without our knowledge? Well, actually the answer is no, but what about apps?
Smartphones do not have this ability. However, some applications may, without our knowledge, spy on our daily life or use our personal data.
In fact, the computer security researchers at Human Security managed to find a total of 89 applications. Apps that hide adware on the Play Store and App Store.
It seems that iPhones as well as Android phones are affected by this issue. Thus, experts have identified 80 Android applications in the Play Store and 9 iOS applications in the App Store. We tell you everything!
Apps offered by scammers
The researchers were eager to explain the process. The applications in question have been brought online as part of an operation. This unofficial operation is called Scylla and aims to generate significant ad revenue quickly and without bothering users who might uninstall the app.
To generate such large sums of money, cybercriminals have to use malware. This software invades the user’s screen with advertisements.
However, the ads can appear at any time, whether during use or even when the screen is locked.
This is quite an aggressive strategy. However, the technique of these scammers is essential.
Every fraud scheme is a race against time for the malicious actor: fraudsters have a limited time to make enough profit and recoup development and implementation costs first, researchers say.
Ad fraud in the Play Store and App Store
This ad fraud attack has been evolving since 2019, according to Human Security. The researchers decided to call this fraud Poseidon. Thus, the adware managed to sneak into the code of many Android applications in the Play Store.
To break into the apps, the bad guys flooded the victims with ads without their knowledge. Various fraud techniques are used to reach an almost imperceptible level. First, the developers manage to manipulate the advertisers.
To do this, they pass off their applications as legitimate and very popular solutions. The research explains that malicious actors code their apps to impersonate other apps.
Once the victims get caught, they show the ads when the user cannot see them. So the ads appear when the screen is locked, for example.
Ads sometimes appear invisibly in the background of an app. This is an obvious time waster for advertisers. However, these ads, which are displayed without the victim’s knowledge, are counted in the application’s results. Therefore, criminals earn significant revenue from these false results.
The list of Android and iOS apps
During Human Security’s investigation, researchers discovered that some applications hide adware. These criminals managed to accumulate more than 13 million installations.
Thus, many victims did not even know that they were affected by this fraud. And this, knowing that most of the ads are displayed as soon as the screen is inactive.
It should be noted that the two app stores, the App Store and the Play Store, quickly banned the apps. Therefore, it is impossible to install them now.
However, you still need to check that they are not on their smartphones. This is true whether you have an Apple or Android smartphone.
The 9 iOS applications
The researchers found 9 applications on Apple’s processor, iOS. The applications to uninstall as soon as possible are the following. Loot the castle, Run bridge, Shinning Gun and Racing Legend 3D. As well as Rope Runner, Wood Sculptor, Fire-Wall, Ninja Critical Hit and finally Tony Runs.
There are 80 of them on the Play Store.
top 20 apps
The Play Store seems to be much more affected by adware. It turns out that 80 applications are affected by the fraud.
These include Super Hero-Save the world!, Arrow Coins, Parking Master, Lady Run, and Magic Brush 3D. As well as Shake Shake Sheep, Number Match – Color Chips, Jackpot Scratcher-Win Real, Scratch Carnival and Ztime – Win cash rewards easily.
Or Billionaire Scratch, Lucky Wings – Lotto Scratcher, Lucky Star: Lotto Scratch, Shake Shake Pig and Lucky Money Tree. And Run And Dance, Lucky Scratchers: Lotto Card, Pull Worm, Crowd Battle: Fight The Bad Guys & Shoot A Dummy – Win rewards and Paypal money. These apps represent only 20 of the 80 affected Android apps.
the other 40
There is also Spot 10 Differences, Find 5 Differences: New, Dinosaur Legend, One Line Drawing and Shoot Master. O Talent Trap: NEW, Shoot It: Pistol, Super Snowflake, Five Star Slice, and Sand Drawing. Also, Mr. Dinosaur: Play your Dino, Track Sliding New, Beat Kicker New, Fill Color 3D and Draw Live. As well as Draw 1 Stroke, Fidget Cubes, Girls Fight, Ninja Assassin and Shooting Puzzle 2020.
However, the list is far from complete. There is also Pulley Parkour, Chop Flake 3D, Weapon Fantasy, Balloon Shooter and Musical Shoot. Or Chop Slices, Ninja Slice, Work Now!, Bottle Jump and Corn Scraper. Other apps like Idle Wood Maker, Pop Girls Schooler, Romy Rush, Spear Hero, and Dig Road Balls. O BOO Popstar, Draw Complete, Rush 2048：3D Shoot Cubes, Meet Camera and Auto Stamp Camera.
The last 20 applications affected by adware
We can finally see the end of the list of applications affected by this fraudulent operation. In fact, the last 20 apps to uninstall ASAP are: Find Five Differences, MUFC, Roll Turn, Hidind Draw and Peter Shoot. Also Design n Road, Draw Complete, Thief King, Downhill Race and Draw a War.
Also, Rescue Master, Spin:Letter Roll, Helicopter Attack – NEW, Crush Car and Relx cash are in danger. And finally, the last five apps to uninstall are War in Painting, Bike Extreme Racing, Player Spiral Maker 3D, Match 3 Tiles, and 2048 Merge Cube – Win Cash.
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