Google Play Protect failed to catch 56 malicious apps committing mobile ad fraud

The apps contained malware that imitated user behaviour to click on ads and banners

Google Play Store

Despite Google’s best efforts in preventing malicious software and malware from getting on the Play Store, apps are still getting infected.

According to new analysis from Check Point detailed in an Engadget report, 56 apps on the Play Store contained malware designed to commit mobile ad fraud.

The 56 apps had been downloaded almost one million times worldwide. Further, the apps included utilities like cooking software and calculators, as well as apps for kids including puzzles and racing games.

Called ‘Tekya,’ the malware would imitate users’ actions to click ads and banners from agencies like AdMob, AppLovin’, Facebook and Unity. It was able to remain undetected for a long time by hiding in Android’s native code. Engadget describes this as code designed to run only on Android processors.

Because of this, Tekya was able to hide from Google Play Protect, the search giant’s security suite that monitors Android apps for malicious code.

Check Point disclosed Tekya to Google, which removed the malware in early March.

While 56 apps don’t seem like much compared to the over two million apps available on the Play Store, it still goes to show that things can slip through the cracks. As such, it’s important to keep devices up to date with the latest security patches and take care when installing apps that don’t come from a trustworthy source.

Source: Engadget