Scam of the day – February 5, 2015 – Adware found in Google Play apps

The security firm Avast has discovered malware in three apps including the popular card game Durak.  The malware causes a pop-up message to appear on your smartphone indicating that your smartphone is infected and directs you to security companies to fix the non-existent problem.  Advertisements on Google Play apps are strictly prohibited as are, of course, viruses and other forms of malware.  This particular malware which may have affected as many as ten million people was particular insidious because the message would not appear when you first installed the tainted Durak or other infected apps, but rather would be delayed for a week or more making it unlikely that people would be able to guess that the source of the problem was the infected app.  Google has removed the three infected apps from the Google Play store.  Infected apps are nothing new.  Similar infected apps result in popups that inform you that your smartphone software is out of date, infected or filled with pornography and then direct you to a website to purchase software to cure a non-existent problem.

TIPS

Although these particular tainted apps came directly from the Google Play store, you are generally much safer obtaining your apps from the Google Play store or other legitimate app vendors.  However, as this case shows, you can never be guaranteed that any app you download will be totally safe.  Just as you cannot trust any email or text message that asks you to click on a link or do a download without verifying that it is legitimate, so you should never automatically click on links in popups that come up on your computer regardless of how legitimate they may appear until you have confirmed that they are legitimate.