Google bans 29 apps from Play Store for spamming users, uninstall them now!

These Android apps had over 3.5 million downloads

Highlights
  • Google has removed 29 apps from the Android marketplace for ads that spam users
  • Most of the deleted apps were photo editing apps, which would disappear from the phone after installation

Google has removed 29 apps from Play Store for allegedly injecting malicious ads to the users’ devices. Most of these were photo editing apps that would disappear from the phone after installation, noted White Ops’ Satori threat intelligence team. While removing the apps from the Android app marketplace will only safeguard the new users, those who have already installed them need to manually uninstall these apps from their devices to prevent any security mishap. The banned apps had more than 3.5 million downloads among them and would bombard users with ads just out of nowhere.

One such app was the Square Photo Blur, which managed to bypass the Play Store security checks. Once installed, the app would disappear from the user home screen and not show “open” function on the Play Store either. The security researchers found the app not functioning as advertised and instead ran out-of-context (OOC) ads for almost every action the user performed on their devices, including unlocking the handset, uninstalling an app, charging the phone, and even switching from mobile data to Wi-Fi. These ads would occupy the entire screen. Additionally, the Square Photo Blur reportedly launches an OOC web browser randomly.

You should delete these apps from your phone if you have them

  1. Auto Picture Cut
  2. Color Call Flash
  3. Square Photo Blur v2.0.5
  4. Square Photo Blur v7.0
  5. Magic Call Flash
  6. Easy Blur
  7. Image Blur
  8. Auto Photo Blur
  9. Photo Blur
  10. Photo Blur Master
  11. Super Call Screen
  12. Square Blur Master
  13. Square Blur
  14. Square Blur Photo
  15. Smart Photo Blur
  16. Super Call Flash
  17. Smart Call Flash
  18. Blur Photo Editor
  19. Blur Image
  20. Super Blur
  21. Square Image Blur
  22. Super Blur Photo
  23. Super Photo Blur
  24. Photo Blur Editor
  25. Pro Blur Photo
  26. Auto Photo Cut
  27. Smart Call Screen
  28. test.com.flash.call.flashcall.cool
  29. com.auto.photo.editor.background.eraser.tool

Click here to know the version numbers of these apps.

The Satori team discovered these 29 unique apps as part of their “CHARTREUSEBLUR” investigation. The word ‘blur’ in the moniker of the investigation is due to the fact that the majority of apps include the word “blur” in their package name, and many purports to be photo editors allowing a user to blur sections of the image.

The report added that if the app you’ve just downloaded disappeared from your phone or if the only way you can open the app is by going into your Settings menu and finding it in a long list of apps or if after you download this app, you open your phone and you begin getting bombarded by ads just appearing out of nowhere, it might be bogus. The researchers also advised user’s to read reviews and user-ratings before downloading an app. Usually, the malicious apps will have bad ratings and reviews, so that is a good indicator as well.