Google has once again banned hundreds of apps from Play store. The latest report suggests that the tech giant has deleted 150 malicious apps from play store. These apps were reportedly part of a campaign called UltimaSMS, which basically scammers lured Android users to sign in for premium SMS services. Also Read - Google News Showcase gets support for Malayalam and Bengali
Scammers alleged promised money in return of subscription to such premium services. As per the report coming from Avast Antivirus blog, the hundreds of apps that were a part of these malicious campaigns were downloaded by more than 10.5 million times. Also Read - Over 600 illegal loan lending apps available on different App stores in India: RBI report
The blog post noted, “the apps that I discovered are part of the UltimaSMS campaign, consisting of 151 apps that at one point or another had been available for download on the Google Play Store. These apps have been downloaded more than 10.5 million times, and are nearly identical in structure and functionality; essentially copies of the same fake app used to spread the premium SMS scam campaign. This leads me to believe that one bad actor or group is behind the entire campaign. I have dubbed the campaign “UltimaSMS”, because one of the first apps I discovered was called Ultima Keyboard 3D Pro.” Also Read - Google Pixel 6a key specifications appear online, tipped to get custom Tensor chipset
As per the report, these fake apps were downloaded by users from over 80 countries with most downloaded by users in the Middle East, the US and Poland.
List of some malicious Android apps
Ultima Keyboard 3D Pro
VideoMixer Editor Pro
FX Animate Editor Pro
Battery Animation Charge 2021
Dynamic HD & 4K Wallpapers
GB Neon HD Keyboard Background
Applock X FREE
Ultra Camera HD
Wi-Fi Password Unlock
Wi-Fi Around: All Wi-Fi and Hotspots Unlock
Colorful Call Screen & Phone Flash
GT Sports Racing Online 4
Magic Fonts and Keyboard 2021
All Language Photo and Voice Translator Al
Crime City: Revenge
Projector HD/AR Video Editor
Ludo Masterpiece Online
Mobile Scanner Pro: PDF Scanner App, Scan to PDF
Magic Mix Cut – Super Video Editor
Future Scanner FREE 2021
Pro Video Downloader 2021.
The report highlighted that when a user downloaded one of these malicious apps, the app checked details such as location, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), and phone number to identify the country code and the local language. The app further asked users to enter their mobile number and sometimes email address to gain access to the app’s advertised purpose.
Users must always ensure to download verified applications from the Play store since there are number of unverified, third-party apps available on the platform. Before downloading such applications, users must check the developer, ratings and comments.