Malware called HiddenAds has been reported to have infiltrated Google Play Store which puts Nigerians and other users of the digital distribution service at risk and threatens their private data.
Malware is software secretly input on a website to disrupt a computer system or phone to damage and gain unauthorized access to unsuspecting individuals or a company’s data.
While it has been gathered by Prime Business Africa that Google Play Store users are now at risk of losing their private information when using the app store, as the malware is hidden in Android apps, the malware apps have been reported to have recorded over one million downloads.
This was made possible by Facebook Ads which push the apps as authentic, prompting users of the social media platform to click the link that takes them to the Google Play Store.
The following according to researchers at McAfee’s Mobile Research are the HiddenAds malware; Junk Cleaner, EasyCleaner, Power Doctor, Super Clean, Full Clean, Fingertip Cleaner, Quick Cleaner and Keep Clean.
Others are Windy Clean, Carpet Clean, Cool Clean, Strong Clean, as well as Meteor Clean. When downloaded, these apps begin to display adverts on the phone screens and trick users into downloading another malware-infected app, by claiming the phone is at risk and needs the referred app to function properly.
Google however has removed some of these malware HiddenAds, and the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, also in a statement warned Nigerians of the dangers of using the Google Play Store.
“Upon installation, it can run malicious services without the user opening the app. It also spams the user with irrelevant advertisements. The apps have received downloads ranging from 100,000 to over a million.” NCC said.