Warning for MILLIONS of Facebook users – there's a hidden danger you must avoid | The Sun

MILLIONS of Facebook users are at risk of attack through adware apps, security experts have warned.

Researchers from McAfee uncovered over a dozen adware apps being promoted aggressively on the social network, masquerading as Android system cleaner apps that delete junk files or help optimise device management.

The security company counted at least a million installations of the malicious mobile apps so far on the Google Play store thanks to their Facebook advertising methods.

Once installed, the dangerous apps fail to offer any of their promised functionality and instead, push advertisements while trying to linger for as long as possible on their victim’s device.

To dodge being deleted, the apps hide on the victim's device by frequently changing their names and switching icons, imitating other regular Android system apps such as ‘Settings’ or even the Google Play store itself.

According to McAfee, the apps work by abusing the Contact Provider Android component.

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This means every time the user installs a new app, the adware uses a new subsystem and begins the ad-serving process all over again.

The user, therefore, thinks the ads are being served by the newly installed app. 

“This malware is auto-starting malware, so as soon as the users download it from Google Play, they are infected immediately,” the security researchers warned. 

“It is still constantly developing variants that are published by different developer accounts. Therefore, it is not easy for users to notice this type of malware.”

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The adware apps can prove incredibly frustrating for users that become infected. They create a permanent service for displaying their ads, and if the user terminates the service, it simply restarts. 

The malicious apps that McAfee found are as follows:

  • Junk Cleaner 
  • EasyCleaner
  • Power Doctor 
  • Super Clean
  • Full Clean -Clean Cache
  • Fingertip Cleaner 
  • Quick Cleaner 
  • Keep Clean
  • Windy Clean 
  • Carpet Clean 
  • Cool Clean
  • Strong Clean 
  • Meteor Clean

While they’ve since been removed from the Google Play store, it’s worth remaining vigilant and keeping an eye out for apps with similar names, especially if being promoted on Facebook.

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The news of the adware is yet another blow for Android users, who earlier this week were warned of popular apps containing a vicious data-stealing virus called Joker.

The virus, which is a form of “fleeceware”, simulates clicks and intercepts text messages in a bid to steal money from Android users without their knowledge, subscribing them to unwanted paid premium services.

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