Google issues urgent warning after banning 16 apps with 20 million downloads – delete them now or it’ll cost you

GOOGLE has removed 16 apps with a combined total of more than 20 million downloads from the Google Play app store.

Disguised as flashlight, camera, and QR reader apps, the shady downloads were loaded with malware.

Android devices have been infected with malicious apps


Android devices have been infected with malicious appsPhoto credit: Getty

This malware can consume a device’s monthly data allowance and drain the battery without the user’s knowledge.

The sneaky software was discovered by cyber researchers from security firm McAfee.

It is recommended that anyone who installed the apps delete them from their Android devices immediately.

McAfee wrote in a blog post Wednesday that the apps provided legitimate functionality.

They included flashlight, camera, QR reading, and measurement conversions and were easy to find on the Google Play Store.

Once installed, this malware lurks beneath the surface and bombards your phone with advertisements.

Researchers found that infected devices received messages via Google’s own Firebase cloud messaging platform (FCM).

The messages instructed them to open specific web pages in the background and select links to click on ads.

Worryingly, the apps can run the malicious services automatically without even opening the app.

“Mainly, it visits websites delivered via FCM message and crawls them one by one in the background while mimicking user behavior,” wrote McAfee’s SangRyol Ryu.

“This can result in heavy network traffic and drain power without user awareness while bringing profit to the threat actor behind this malware.”

Google said in a statement that all apps highlighted by McAfee have been removed from the Play Store.

The company added, “Users are also protected by Google Play Protect, which blocks these apps on Android devices.”

Although they have now been removed from the App Store, anyone who has already downloaded them is still at risk until they are fully uninstalled.

Apps blocked by Google Play

If you downloaded any of these Android apps, you should now delete them from your device.

  • High Speed ​​Camera (over 10,000,000 downloads)
  • Smart Task Manager (5,000,000+ downloads)
  • Flashlight+ (over 1,000,000 downloads)
  • 달력메모장 (over 1,000,000 downloads)
  • K Dictionary (over 1,000,000 downloads)
  • BusanBus (over 1,000,000 downloads)
  • Flashlight+ (500,000+ downloads)
  • Quick Note (500,000+ downloads)
  • SmartCurrency Converter (500,000+ downloads)
  • Joycode (over 100,000 downloads)
  • EzDica (over 100,000 downloads)
  • Downloader for Instagram Profiles (100,000+ downloads)
  • Ez Notes (100,000+ downloads)
  • 손전등 (1,000+ downloads)
  • 계산기 (100+ Downloads)
  • Flashlight+ (100+ Downloads)

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Fry Electronics Team

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