News24xx.com - Part of Google's job with upkeep on the Play Store is to make sure scam apps don't make it online. They do a decent job, but plenty of them obviously slip through the cracks. The problem is that, if you download these apps, they could mess with your smartphone.
Aside from compromising your security, these kinds of apps can also really drain your battery.
Cybersecurity researchers at Sophos studied 22 seemingly popular apps on the Play Store and found them to actually be really harmful. With more than 2 million downloads each, these were actually, "clickfraud"apps, which pretend to do something but are usually running some other kind of code in the background.
All of these apps, including the likes of Sparkle Flashlight, Zombie Killer, and Table Soccer, had backdoors that allowed them to subtly download programs to users' smartphones from hacker-controlled servers.
These apps in particular were doing a variety of annoying things, like fraudulently generating clicks on ads in order to earn the attacker money, and sometimes serving those ads directly to the user, even on their home screen.
These apps work by continuing to run in the background once they've been opened for the first time. But aside from being annoying, the constant dedication of your phone's processor power can slow down your device, and also drain your battery really quick.
Though these apps have since been removed from the Play Store by Google (after being online for months), you can bet that there are plenty more when they came from. The problem is, it's not always easy to figure out which apps are fake and which are legitimate -- especially on Android.
Most people that use these apps don't notice anything wrong, attributing any slowdown or battery drain to the smartphone itself. So most of these suspicious apps barely have any negative ratings. Additionally, many of them are often populated with masses of fake reviews, usually 5-star ratings with single word entries.
Frankly, if you want to avoid these kinds of apps in future, you're going to have to do a bit more research before you download. Look at user reviews for anything fishy, check the app names online if you can. And certainly don't download any apps for basic things your smartphone already has, like a flashlight or calculator, because those are the most common targets.
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