Google bans 13 popular Android apps – delete them now or pay a price

If you use an Android-powered device and haven’t given it a spring clean in a while then now is a very good time to check your apps. Google has just removed a total of 13 applications from its Play Store after security experts from McAfee discovered they were infected with the nasty Xamalicious bug.

Once installed on a device, this seriously scary virus is fully capable of allowing cyber crooks to take over some features remotely including navigating the screen and granting themselves a swathe of permissions. With that kind of access, hackers can then infect devices with unwanted spyware or even money-stealing banking trojans without the owner ever knowing anything is wrong.

The bug also offers crooks the ability to hide on-screen elements meaning the owner can’t see phone-slowing adware being installed.

McAfee has confirmed that a total of 25 apps have been found to contain this vicious Xamalicious virus with 13 readily available to download via Google’s official Play Store. That has meant over 300,000 people have downloaded and installed them.

According to McAfee, the majority of downloads took place in the UK, USA, Brazil, Spain and Germany. That’s why it’s vital you now check your device today.

HERE ARE 13 APPS TO AVOID AND DELETE

• Essential Horoscope for Android – 100,000 downloads

• 3D Skin Editor for PE Minecraft – 100,000 downloads

• Logo Maker Pro – 100,000 downloads

• Auto Click Repeater – 10,000 downloads

• Count Easy Calorie Calculator – 10,000 downloads

• Sound Volume Extender – 5,000 downloads

• LetterLink – 1,000 downloads

• NUMEROLOGY: PERSONAL HOROSCOPE &NUMBER PREDICTIONS – 1,000 downloads

• Step Keeper: Easy Pedometer – 500 downloads

• Track Your Sleep – 500 downloads

• Sound Volume Booster – 100 downloads

• Astrological Navigator: Daily Horoscope & Tarot – 100

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Ontario bans use of pro athletes to advertise, market online sports betting

Ontario announced Tuesday that the province will ban the use of athletes in advertising for online gambling, while also strengthening standards to restrict the use of celebrities who the government says might appeal to minors. 

But advocates, the Opposition NDP and a Canadian senator who has called for stricter regulations in the sector say that while the ban is welcome, it doesn’t go far enough to protect those who are most vulnerable to gambling addictions. 

Advocates and academics have raised concerns about the inundation of sports betting advertising seen in the province since Ontario opened up to independent online gambling sites last year, and decried the impact those advertisements could have on the health of young people.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced Tuesday it updated the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming to prohibit the use of athletes and said new restrictions will come into effect Feb. 28, 2024.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and current NHL stars Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are among the athletes who have appeared in ads for gambling sites.

“Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to,” Tom Mungham, the AGCO’s registrar and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

Change comes after consultations with public, experts

In April, the AGCO held consultations on its proposal for the ban and received submissions from a host of stakeholders, including mental-health organizations, gambling experts, gaming operations and the public.

In its report Tuesday, the AGCO said its proposal “comes after significant criticism from advocates, experts and parents about the notable rise of online gambling advertisements, especially during live sports.

“For example, during a 2023 playoff series game

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Google bans Android apps that quietly kill your phone’s battery life, McAfee reveals

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

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