Google Removes 85 Gaming And Photography Apps From Play Store - Here's Why


Recently, Google removed 85 apps from its Google Play Store. The action was taken by the search giant when security researchers at Trend Micro reported that all these apps are having adware called AndroidOS_Hidenad.HRXHhiding within their code. This was embedded mainly on gaming and photography apps. According to researchers, the application were installed more than 8 million times on Android devices.

Google Removes 85 Gaming And Photography Apps From Play Store

"We found another example of adware's potential real-life impact on Google Play. Trend Micro detects this as AndroidOS_Hidenad.HRXH. Apart from displaying advertisements that are difficult to close, it employs unique techniques to evade detection through user behaviour and time-based triggers," reads Trend Micro blog post.

These apps exploited the common Android functions and is capable of detecting when the user unlocks the smartphone, and triggers the advertisements that were normally five minutes long and were hard to skip.

The apps also created their replica on the home screen as a shortcut so that even if the users delete it from the phone it will keep working on the smartphone.

"Android 8.0 and later versions also have a function that asks for user confirmation before an application is allowed to create a shortcut. The apps will first hide their icon before generating a shortcut on the home screen; if the shortcut isn't created, users could be made more aware of its more unusual behaviors," reads Trend Micro researchers report.

This is not the first time Google is removing apps from the Play Store because of security reasons. The company has always taken measures to prevent adware and malware to appear on its digital storefront. However, the reports on dozens of infected apps are surfacing frequently. Google needs to make its Play Store more secure to avoid these issues.

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