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Adware on Google Play and Apple Store installed 13 million times

Posted on September 27, 2022 by

Security researchers have discovered 75 applications on Google Play and another ten on Apple’s App Store engaged in ad fraud. Collectively, they add to 13 million installations.

Apart from flooding mobile users with advertisements, both visible and hidden, the fraudulent apps also generated revenue by impersonating legitimate apps and impressions.

Researchers from HUMAN’s Satori Threat Intelligence team identified a collection of mobile apps that are part of a new ad fraud campaign that they named ‘Scylla’.

The analysts believe Scylla is the third wave of an operation they found in August 2019 and dubbed ‘Poseidon’. The second wave, apparently from the same threat actor, was called ‘Charybdis’ and culminated towards the end of 2020.

Ad-fraud apps

The Satori team have informed Google and Apple about their findings and the apps have been removed from the official Android and iOS stores.

On Android devices, unless you have the Play Protect security option disabled, the apps should be detected automatically.

For iOS, Apple is not clear on how to remove adware apps already installed on the device. Human is recommending users remove the fraudulent apps if present on their devices. A short list with the most downloaded of them is present below:

iOS app list:

  • Loot the Castle – com.loot.rcastle.fight.battle (id1602634568)
  • Run Bridge – com.run.bridge.race (id1584737005)
  • Shinning Gun – com.shinning.gun.ios (id1588037078)
  • Racing Legend 3D – com.racing.legend.like (id1589579456)
  • Rope Runner – com.rope.runner.family (id1614987707)
  • Wood Sculptor – com.wood.sculptor.cutter (id1603211466)
  • Fire-Wall – com.fire.wall.poptit (id1540542924)
  • Ninja Critical Hit – wger.ninjacriticalhit.ios (id1514055403)
  • Tony Runs – com.TonyRuns.game

Android app list (1+ million downloads)

  • Super Hero-Save the world! – com.asuper.man.playmilk
  • Spot 10 Differences – com.different.ten.spotgames
  • Find 5 Differences – com.find.five.subtle.differences.spot.new
  • Dinosaur Legend – com.huluwagames.dinosaur.legend.play
  • One Line Drawing – com.one.line.drawing.stroke.yuxi
  • Shoot Master – com.shooter.master.bullet.puzzle.huahong
  • Talent Trap – NEW – com.talent.trap.stop.all

The full list of applications part of the Scylla ad-fraud wave is available in HUMAN’s report.

Users should monitor their apps for malicious or unwanted apps by looking for some signs that typically indicate an issue such as rapid battery drainage and increased internet data usage, or apps you don’t remember installing.

It is also recommended to check the list of installed apps and remove those you don’t remember installing or come from an unfamiliar vendor.

Original Posts: Adware on Google Play and Apple Store installed 13 million times