Staff member
Malware Hunter
Here we go again—more dangerous, malware-laced apps found lurking in Google’s Play Store. Android’s preeminent storefront has come in for serious criticism in recent months, with multiple warnings about malware-laced apps which have often been on the store for months, or even years, and which have been installed by hundreds of millions of users. This latest warning concerns four VPNs and two selfie apps, with more than 500 million installs between them, all of which contain harmful adware and which seek dangerous system permissions that can inflict serious harm.
First, comes a warning from security researcher Andy Michael about four Android VPNs that are bombarding devices with fraudulent ads—generating revenue for their operators at the expense of the companies placing the ads. The four apps all originate in China, and two have almost identical code. In total the apps have been installed more than 500 million times. That, it hardly needs saying, amounts to a lot of ads and a lot of fraudulent revenue. And so, if you have one of HotSpotVPN, Free VPN Master, Secure VPN, or CM Security Applock AntiVirus installed on your machine you might want to delete that right away.
Full details on the four dodgy VPNs can be found on the VPN Testing website.

Second, comes a warning from security researchers at Wandera that two camera filter apps with more than 1.5 million installs between them have been infecting devices with adware. Sun Pro Beauty Camera and Funny Sweet Beauty Selfie Camera have been filling screens with full screen ads. One of the apps even continued to display its ads when the app remained unopened, suggesting a level of sophisticated malware above and beyond the required code to run basic ad fraud.