Google Play is reported to have at least 17 Trojan apps said to be a part of the Trojan family called HiddenAds. This was brought to light by cybersecurity company Avast after these apps were reportedly able to steal users personal information.
The researchers discovered that these apps were masked as games but were designed to display intrusive ads. The Trojan apps could also hide their icons from the affected devices and display timed ads that cannot be skipped.
The team of researchers initially discovered a total of 47 apps belonging to the Trojan family, but Google removed 30 of these apps on receiving this report. The team found that each of the downloaded apps had a separate developer on Google Play with a generic email address. Some of these apps include: Skate Board-New, Find Hidden Differences, Spot Hidden Differences, Tony Shoot-New, and Stacking Guys.
The HiddenAds campaign through these apps were most common in Turkey, Brazil and India, spreading to other regions as well. This is not the first time that such harmful apps have been discovered on Google Play, as Avast detected apps that were installed over 1 million times last year which could stalk users.