Another week, another report of adware in apps on the Google Play Store. This time, a report has found that two camera apps that were available on the Google Play Store were littered with adware and amassed over 1.5 million downloads.

The report comes from mobile security firm Wandera, who found that the two offending camera apps would show invasive pop-ups and bombard your phone with ads.

The first app is called Sun Pro Beauty Camera and had over 1 million downloads, while the second app — Funny Sweet Beauty Camera — had just over 500,000 downloads. Luckily, both have since been removed from the Play Store.

Wandera reports that after their testing, the two apps would create an app drawer shortcut and then promptly remove themselves from the app drawer to stay hidden. Uninstalling was not always effective, as the camera adware apps would then continue running in the background and serving invasive ads.

The ad behaviors differ between the two apps:

  • Testing on SunPro Beauty Camera showed that even if the app is never opened and even after restarting the device, full-screen ads start to pop up that are difficult to close.
  • Testing on Funny Sweet Beauty Camera showed that the full-screen ads begin to appear outside of the app only when a filtered photo is downloaded via the app, locally on the device.

Camera adware play store

These camera adware apps share some very similar functionality to the 85 apps removed from the Play Store after being unearthed by Trend Micro back in August. The sheer number of negative reviews of the apps should have been an indication of the problematic nature of them. It’s not clear if Google was tracking these before removing the offenders though.

Wandera states that its findings were shared with Google on September 11, 2019, which saw a prompt removal of the apps from the Play Store. Our advice would be to ensure that friends and relatives don’t have the apps installed, a full system wipe and restore may be needed to fully rid their devices of these annoying apps.

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Damien Wilde

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