Security experts warn of 13 apps that have nested in the official Google Play Store. The malware disguises itself there as cleaning software and hides itself on the devices after installation.

Security researchers from “McAfee” are again warning of numerous malicious apps for Android smartphones. These cavorted in the Google Play Store, of all places, the official contact point for Android software. According to McAfee, most of these programs disguise themselves as so-called “cleaner” apps, i.e. programs for cleaning up unnecessary files that promise better device performance.

App installation is already sufficient

By the way, there is no need to start these apps – they start “working” as soon as the download is complete. Because once installed, these programs hide and keep showing ads – a good source of income for the publishers. If you think you can simply delete the malware, you first have to find it. As McAfee describes, the apps are constantly changing their appearance and giving themselves different names. The Play Store symbol and a name such as “Settings” or “Google Play” are popular.

In addition to the constant advertising, the malicious programs also interfere with every installation, uninstallation or update of other apps – and point out that you should urgently clean up your smartphone. Appropriately, there are download links to other apps, which also do not have good intentions.

Known apps have been removed – new ones are probably in the works

The apps are also advertised on social networks such as Facebook. According to McAfee, users from the USA, South America, Asia and Turkey are particularly affected. The first cases are said to have also occurred in Great Britain. The following apps are named:

The good news first: McAfee has reported all apps to Google, but none of them can be found in the Play Store anymore. The bad news: It’s only a matter of time before similar apps with different names show up there.

Here’s what you can do against such apps

If you see inexplicable ads and constant requests to download other apps on your smartphone, try to find the app responsible. Mobile anti-virus software such as “McAfee Mobile Security” can also help to remove the software.

If nothing else works, you should save important data in a backup and reset the Android smartphone to factory settings. After that, pay attention to the ratings and the developer when downloading new apps. Particularly nonsensical names such as “fouesenouerds” or “Exhibition snow” and Chinese characters should be interpreted as a possible sign that the app has bad intentions.

“Cleaner apps” rarely make sense

The following generally applies to tidying up programs for smartphones: They are rarely useful, often they enable inexperienced users to unintentionally cause damage, for example by removing important files.

If you still want to keep things tidy, follow the recommendations of specialist magazines such as “Mobilsicher”. The apps “SD Maid” and “LTE Cleaner” are recommended there. You can also use well-known programs such as “CCleaner” or “AVG Cleaner” relatively without hesitation, even if the transfer of data to advertising providers is not entirely uncritical – at least it does not damage the device or constantly annoying with displays.

Sources: Mobile Safe, McAfee