Security researchers are warning people to look out for fake apps that disguise themselves as popular apps like Facebook and Snapchat, but instead take over your device and give themselves high-level permissions.
What’s worse, they are pretty darn hard to get off your device. While adware has always been aggressive at getting onto devices, sometimes attaching itself to free downloads when you forget to check a box, this new type has been trojanized. That means it sneaks onto your device and worms itself into your system. Even doing a factory reset will not remove this adware.
Lookout Security says the company has detected more than 20,000 samples of this type of adware.
These crooks pretend to be legitimate apps like Candy Crush, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
How do they do it? They take copies of the legitimate apps from the Google Play Store and then inject their own malicious software into the app. Then they put the apps up in third-party app stores.
These fake apps look and actually function pretty much like the real thing. There’s really no way you could tell the difference. But silently in the background, the malicious code is at work, writing itself into the basic programming of your device.
And because it writes itself into the root of your device, simply resetting the device or removing the app won’t help rid yourself of these bugs. You’d have to take it to a code expert or get a new phone or tablet.
Now, these apps are only found in third-party app stores. Your would first need to root your tablet and then install a third-party app store.
Some people prefer to do this because they want complete control over their tablet and want offerings outside of the selections offered in the Google Play Store.
However, that comes with risks, like this adware. For safety’s sake, you’re a lot better off sticking to the Google Play store.