The threat of this new malware news is evolving and omnipresent, and app stores like Google’s are vulnerable to being used unknowingly for distribution. Play Store regularly removes and bans apps that flout rules meant to prevent adware, spyware, malware, and other annoying apps. As a result, developers of these applications try everything to avoid Google’s checks. We are about to learn about some apps whose name and icon automatically change after installation, allowing them to remain undetected while bombarding you with ads.
In a recent study, Bitdefender noted 35 apps that abused this technique to make it harder for you to identify the culprit responsible for ad spam and malicious ads. Together, the apps have been downloaded over two million times.
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In order to remain hidden, these apps rename themselves to match a system app like Settings. Users are also redirected to the real Settings app when tapping their icon, which also changes automatically.
There are some that ask you to disable battery optimization and grant permission to display over other apps, which we hope would be red flags. These permissions can be abused by apps so they can start foreground notifications and simulate users clicking ads.
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