Malware hidden in various Android Apps is becoming a new normal in today’s world. This time there are a bunch of QR code apps that worryingly have infected around 500,00 Android users with malware.
A report by SophosLabs notes that as many as seven QR code apps present on Google Play have been infected with malware. Additionally, an app called Smart Compass may also be infected.
The malware is called Andr/HiddnAd-AJ and as you can guess from the name it plays ads on your phones
Seems innocent? Think again as after waiting for 6 hours to settle on your device and giving you a false sense of security, the malware starts presenting full-screen ads and starts opening ads on web pages. It also sends users notifications with links to different ads.
Sophos reveals that the apps were downloaded 500,000 times before Google removed them from their store. It is quite shocking that the QR code apps were able to hide the malicious code from Google’s scanning which makes us wonder how many other malicious apps are hiding in plain sight.
Now, mind you that the apps did perform what they were meant to do but users who kept them for more than 6 hours were served with quite a bucket full of ads. Google has been cleaning up its Play Store to get rid of bad apps and though such incidents tend to happen there, it is still a much safer place than many third-party marketplaces.
Many financial services in Pakistan give users the ease of scanning a QR code to make payments. So, if you plan to get an app from Play Store, make sure that it is from a reputable developer.