Google has been gradually improvising on the security front to block fraudulent Android applications from entering the Play Store. It has formed an alliance with top security firms to identify those bad apps.
The White Ops Satori Threat Intelligence and Research team have found up to 5,000 spoofed apps of performing TERRACOTTA ad Fraud operation on 65,000 phones.
Apparently, they offer incentives such as free subscriptions, discounts on products, concert passes, shoes, and other freebies to victims in exchange for downloading their applications. However, the apps never fulfilled their commitments and did illegal activities.
Once installed, the apps did not perform as advertised and apparently modified APK code to avoid detection from the security system of the Android phone and the ads flood the screen. In June 2020 alone, more than two billion ads were posted to generate revenue for viewers. This is an act of deception, as both the consumers of the phone and the product companies were hoodwinked.
The White Ops team found the TERRACOTTA malware code and its hidden functionality in a file named index.android.bundle within the resources directory of the app. The details were immediately forwarded to Google, and the applications were deleted without delay.
“Due to our collaboration with White Ops investigating the TERRACOTTA ad fraud operation, their critical findings helped us connect the case to a previously found set of mobile apps and to identify additional bad apps. This allowed us to move quickly to protect users, advertisers, and the broader ecosystem – when we determine policy violations, we take action,” Google spokesperson said.
In the coming days, the search engine firm Google is expected to carry out a thorough review of the apps in the Play Store and delete more such malicious applications from the Play Store.