Avast specialists reportedthat were found in the App Store and Google Play by seven malicious adware applications developed by one person or a group of persons, installed more than 2,400,000 times in total:
- Shock My Friends – Satuna (AppStore);
- 666 Time (AppStore);
- ThemeZone – Live Wallpapers (AppStore);
- shock my friend tap roulette v (AppStore);
- Ulimate Music Downloader – Free Download Music (Google Play);
- Tap Roulette ++ Shock my Friend (Google Play);
- ThemeZone – Shawky App Free – Shock My Friends (Google Play).
Most adware malware masqueraded as entertainment apps, including games, wallpaper apps, or music downloaders. However, some of them showed intrusive ads even when the application itself was not active. To prevent users from uninstalling malware, applications hid their icons from victims.
Other malicious apps charged users between $ 2 and $ 10 in subscription fees for features that either didn't exist or didn't work as expected. According to the estimates of the analytic service SensorTower, this brought the malware developers more than $ 500,000.
Interestingly, adware was detected thanks to the vigilance of one child. Researchers say that an unnamed girl accidentally saw an advertisement for one of the applications on TikTok and was not too lazy to report this to the specialists of the Czech initiative Be Safe Online, which introduces children to Internet safety.
As a result, Avast experts found that the malware advertised three TikTok profiles, one of which has more than 330,000 subscribers (7odestar), and the other has more than 28,000 subscribers (Dejavuuu.Es3). Additionally, an Instagram account with 5,000 followers was discovered, which also promoted one of the applications.
The developers of Google Play have already removed the malware from their catalog, while malware is still available in the App Store. Avast experts also notified representatives of Facebook and TikTok about suspicious profiles, but so far this has not had any effect.