Apps hiding malware are becoming a common problem. Malicious apps like these have been around in third-party app stores for a while. But official app stores are supposed to protect us from bad actors getting to our devices.
Sadly, that’s not always the case. Cybercriminals can bypass security processes to get their malicious programs into official app stores. Tap or click here for a recent list of bad apps that you should delete ASAP.
A new threat was recently discovered that you need to know about. Malware dubbed Clicker was caught hiding in 16 apps that secretly click ads after installation. Keep reading for the list of bad apps and ways to protect your devices.
What is Clicker?
Cybercriminals the world over pride themselves on the different ways they’re able to squirm their malicious programs into your tech. Researchers at McAfee Labs recently discovered 16 apps hiding Clicker malware.
They all have one thing in common. They masquerade as useful utility apps, including a language translator, dictionary, and other tools like flashlights and task managers.
The reality is these apps are hiding adware. Once installed, the malware starts visiting sites in the background to click on ads, turning a profit for the cybercriminals while slowing down your system. It can even serve annoying pop-up ads on your device.
The apps were all on the Google Play Store and have been downloaded over 20 million times. Thankfully Google removed the apps in question once reported by McAfee. But that doesn’t mean you don’t already have one or more on your device.
Here’s the complete list:
- High-Speed Camera (10,000,000+ downloads)
- Smart Task Manager (5,000,000+ downloads)
- Flashlight+ (kr.caramel.flash_plus) (1,000,000+ downloads)
- 달력메모장 (1,000,000+ downloads)
- K-Dictionary (1,000,000+ downloads)
- BusanBus (1,000,000+ downloads)
- Flashlight+ (500,000+ downloads)
- Quick Note (500,000+ downloads)
- Currency Converter (500,000+ downloads)
- Joycode (100,000+ downloads)
- ExDica (100,000+ downloads)
- Instagram Profile Downloader (100,000+ downloads)
- Ez Notes (100,000+ downloads)
- 손전등 (1,000+ downloads)
- 계산기 (100+ downloads)
- Flashlight+ (com.dev.imagevault) (100+ downloads)
NOTE: There are two flashlight apps on the list with the same name but from different developers.
How to protect your devices from malware
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your devices from malware. Here are some suggestions.
- Never download apps from third-party libraries. Only use official app stores like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. Even though bad apps can sometimes slip through the cracks, official stores have more robust security protocols.
- Watch for spoofed apps. Be on the lookout for apps that use a similar logo to popular apps or have similar functions. Also, check reviews to see if others are warning about suspicious activity.
- Pay attention to the permissions an app requests. It’s a red flag if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications.
- If you think that an app could be malicious, don’t download it. Report it to Google or Apple immediately so that they can investigate. It is often through user reports that malware gets flagged and removed.
- Ensure that you update your phone’s operating system to the latest version. New versions add security features to minimize the theft of your data.
This next step is critical. Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!