A cautionary alert has been issued to Android users, advising them to review their devices and remove a set of questionable applications. These apps have the potential to drain battery life and consume mobile data even when the screen is off. The discovery was brought to light by McAfee’s security team, who identified 43 apps capable of displaying advertisements while the device is idle.
This behavior is in direct violation of Google’s regulations and contradicts the company’s Google Play Developer policy. Despite these restrictions, some developers attempted to exploit this practice to generate ad clicks without user consent.
Although many of these apps have been removed from the Play Store by Google, around 2.5 million users had already installed them before their removal, as per the cited source. Some of the apps identified by McAfee are TV/DMB Player, Music Downloader, News, and Calendar applications. To avoid easy detection, these ads remain dormant for a few weeks after the initial app installation, making it more challenging to recognize the scam.
McAfee is urging users to exercise caution while downloading new apps onto their phones. They emphasize the importance of reviewing the permissions requested by the software before proceeding with the installation. Additionally, users are advised to monitor their device’s performance after installing new software; a sudden drop in battery life might indicate malicious activity.
How to stay safe?
If you have been witnessing any battery drain issues, then there are chances that you might be affected by this. But, do keep in mind that the reason for your phone’s bad battery life could also be because your device might be old or the battery unit is damaged for some reason. Either ways, users are advised to be mindful of the permissions that they give to the unknown apps that they install on devices. One should only give the permissions that are required to run an app on the phone.
McAfee has also issued a statement on how one can be careful about this. “It is essential for users to exercise caution and carefully evaluate the necessity of granting permissions like power saving exclusion, or draw over other apps before allowing them. While these permissions might be required for certain legitimate functionalities for running in the background, it is important to consider the potential risks linked with them, such as enabling hidden behaviors or reducing the relevance of ads and contents displayed to users because of the hidden Clicker behavior.”