New Delhi, 22nd October 2022: On October 21, Google removed 16 apps from the Play Store. There are millions of apps on the Google Play Store. The Android App Store acts as a platform for developers to offer a wide variety of apps. However, to stay on the Play Store, these apps have to follow Google’s security and privacy policies, which have been set by the company.
However, some apps find loopholes to dodge through security layers and perform malicious activities. A report by McAfee states that Google Play has removed 16 such apps with a total download of more than 20 million (2 crore) for ad frauds.
16 mobile apps carried out malicious activity that drained battery faster and used more data than usual. Google has acted on the research report. However, the processing may take longer as these apps have already been downloaded more than 20 million times.
The apps provided valid functions including flashlight, camera, QR reading and measurement conversion. In a report by ARS Technica, citing McAfee’s research, these apps will download additional codes when opened. Due to the downloaded code, these apps can be ad fraud.
An Ad fraud occurs when a bot tries to imitate true web traffic and generate more page views for the website. To the outsider, it may come across as real traffic. Bots are obviously used to generate more traffic, compromising the advertiser’s budget as the ads are served to the bots and not the actual target user.
The McAfee report said the infected devices received messages through the Google-owned Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) platform, which instructed them to open specific web pages in the background. The bot will then select the link to artificially increase the number of click ads received.
A Google spokesperson said that all the apps reported by McAfee have been removed. Users are also protected by Google Play Protect, which blocks these apps on Android devices.
Google has removed the following 16 apps from the Play Store:
1. High-Speed Camera
2. Smart Task Manager
4. com.smh.memocalendar memocalendar
8. Quick Note
9 . Currency Converter
12. Instagram Profile Downloader
13. Ez Notes
16. com.dev.imagevault Flashlight+