Google has been on a spree of removing Android apps from the Play Store. While some of these apps were removed due to the government orders in India, others were banned worldwide as they failed to meet Google’s guidelines. According to a recent report, 29 apps consisting of adware have been removed from the Android app store.
These applications carrying adware were detected by White Ops’ Satori threat intelligence team. It was a part of the security company’s “CHARTREUSEBLUR” investigation. Most of these applications were photo editing apps allowing users to blur the background on their pictures for free.
So far, these apps have gone under the radar due to the out-of-context (OOC) ads. Apart from that, these apps usually disappeared from the app drawer as soon as the user installed them. As a result, the users were not able to find the app and delete it from their smartphones.
However, a little effort of going into the app manager section of the Settings page would allow users to uninstall the apps. Additionally, the users could also head over to the Play Store itself to find and uninstall the app.
As of now, Google has removed 29 apps, which include Auto Picture Cut, Color Call Flash, Square Photo Blur, Square Blur Photo, Magic Call Flash, Easy Blur, Image Blur, Auto Photo Blur, Photo Blur, Photo Blur Master, Super Call Screen, Square Blur, Square Blur Master, Smart Blur Photo, Smart Photo Blur, Super Call Flash, Smart Call Flash, Blur Photo Editor and Blur Image. These apps also had different versions registered with the same name, which brings the total number of apps to 29.
According to White Ops’ Satori team, one of these apps dubbed Square Photo Blur was a “hollow shell of an app” as it did not function as an ad directly. Once the user has installed the app, it disappears from the app drawer and the Play Store. The app then randomly opened OOC web browser showing advertisements.