Delete now! Popular Android app installs malware

As long as an app is under the protection of Google Protect, users don’t need to worry about security. Or does it? Since December of last year, users have been reporting unwanted advertising on their Android smartphones that is being smuggled in uncontrollably by an app officially available in the Play Store. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON got to the bottom of the matter.

Open Google Play Store – Search for the app – Install – optionally switch on WLAN. In and of itself a normal process performed several times a day. There are no dangers lurking here, after all, all apps available in the Play Store are subject to Google’s security precautions – right? An app called the barcode scanner that has already been downloaded 10 million times has now turned out to be dangerous. After an update, it opened a back door on Android smartphones.

Trojans via update – backdoor opened

Researchers at the US IT security company Malwarebytes report that the barcode scanner app from Lavabird Ltd. turned into a Trojan horse with a single update. On December 4th last year, an update appeared on the official Google Play Store, with which a tool called “HiddenAds” (dt: hidden advertising) reached the app. Since then, users have received unwanted advertising directly on their smartphone.

The barcode scanner app has already been downloaded over 10 million times and serves as a QR code and barcode scanner. The functionality and security of this app were never questioned, because users had no problems using the software until then. If, however, unsolicited, uncontrolled and penetrating advertising appears on your own smartphone, a feeling of insecurity quickly arises. Especially when no new apps have been installed or changes have been made to the device.

Also Read: The first screenshots of Android 12 show a completely new interface

Google is removing barcode scanners from Play Store

The researchers at Malwarebytes found that the update was signed with the same security certificate that was used to download previous, i.e. clean, versions from the Google Play Store. Malware immediately informed Google, so that the app disappeared directly from the store. For affected users, however, the problem is not yet solved, a manual deinstallation of the barcode scanner on your own Android device is necessary.

Google is removing barcode scanners from Play Store

Unfortunately, malware keeps popping up that restricts Android users’ device usage. Additional anti-virus tools are useful to better protect your own smartphone. In addition, Google would have to increase the security precautions in its in-house app store so that such malicious apps don’t even get into circulation.

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