Google Play Store has been infiltrated by malware called HiddenAds, which endangers Nigerians and other users of the digital distribution service, 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.
Prime Business Africa gathered 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 recorded over one million downloads, and have been able to trick people by using Facebook Ads to push the apps as authentic, which prompt users of the social media platform to click the link that takes them to the Google Play Store.
Researchers at McAfee’s Mobile Research Team discovered the HiddenAds malware namely; 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.
Although Google has removed some of these malware HiddenAds, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, also released a statement warning Nigerians of the dangers of using the Google Play Store.
In an advisory, NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT), said without opening the malware app after downloading, it can still function, with the malware accessing other apps.
“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.