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Google Play Removes 16 Apps Causing Battery Drain, Excessive Data Usage: See List

Google has removed 16 "utility" apps that committed ad fraud by artificially increasing engagement on advertisements, using infected devices.

Google Play Removes 16 Apps Causing Battery Drain, Excessive Data Usage: See List

The list of 16 malicious apps was published by security firm McAfee

  • McAfee identified 16 apps downloading additional code in the background
  • These apps would commit ad fraud without users' knowledge
  • Google Play Protect is designed to keep users safe from such apps

Google has reportedly removed 16 apps from the Play Store that were causing faster battery drain and higher network usage on users' devices. The applications, which were identified by a security firm, allegedly performed ad fraud by opening web pages in the background to click on advertisements while masquerading as a real user, according to a report. The apps had a total of 20 million installations, according to the security firm, before they were taken down from the Play Store.

According to a report by Ars Technica, Google has removed 16 applications from the Play Store, which were detected by McAfee. The apps, which were previously available to download on Android smartphones and tablets, were listed as utilty applications allowing users to scan QR codes, turn on the device's flash as a torch, or convert various measurements, as per the security firm.

The list of removed applications includes "utility" apps such as BusanBus, Joycode, Currency Converter, High-Speed Camera, Smart Task Manager, Flashlight+, K-Dictionary, Quick Note, EzDica, Instagram Profile Downloader, and Ez Notes.

McAfee found that these applications would download code once they were opened, which and receive notifications to to open web pages without alerting the user, clicking on links and advertisements. This activity would artificially raise the engagement on these ads, which is a form of ad fraud.

The security firm found that the apps that were removed came with adware code called "com.liveposting" and "com.click.cas", libraries that would allow them to click on links and advertisements. This would take place without a user's knowledge and cause additional battery drain and increased network usage.

Google told Ars Technica that all the applications were removed from the Play Store, and that Play Protect blocks these apps on users' devices. However, McAfee's report that the apps would download additional code after the apps were installed, suggests that they managed to bypass Google's protections on the Play Store.

This week, we discuss Android 13 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Further reading: Google, Google Play, Adware, McAfee, Ad Fraud
David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at DavidD@ndtv.com, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at mstdn.social/@delima. More
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