If you have any of these 15 sneaky apps on your Android device, it’s time to go on a digital hunt and delete them. According to Sophos, these adware apps are doing everything they can to hide themselves on your device and inject crappy advertising into everything you do—and more than 1.3 million devices worldwide have at least one of these apps installed.
The apps in question are:
If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a roundup of what they looked like on Google Play—courtesy of Sophos—before Google removed them.
What’s most damning about these apps is the creative techniques they used to bury themselves on your device (to make it easier for you to forget them and trickier for you to remove them). For example, an app might appear in your app tray at first, and when you launch the app, you’ll get a bogus warning about it being “incompatible.” When you’d go to look for it in your app tray again, however, the app’s icon will have disappeared.
These malware apps might also use different names to refer to themselves when you’re trying to find (and uninstall them) via your Settings app versus when they’re actually running. The name of the game is confusion: The more they can make you work to find and uninstall them, the more likely it is you’ll give up—or be unable to.
Going forward, the best way to ensure you don’t get hit with crafty adware like this is to make sure you’re downloading apps that you’ve heard of (or have been independently reviewed by others), rather than any ol’ thing you find on Google Play. Additionally, check the Google Play reviews for apps before you download them. If a lot of people are reporting than app is a scam, or adware, you probably won’t want to put it on your device.