Just in time for the Copa America and Euro 2016 football (soccer) tournaments set to start this and the next week, adware has made its way inside the Google Play Store to capitalize on the hype surrounding these events.
Eu-based cyber-security firmit detected four such apps, which appear to have been created by the same actor, even if they were uploaded to the Play Store from four different developer accounts.
“All four apps have the same dex files and manifests. Each developer name has only uploaded one app and there are no links to any developer homepages,” noted Jan Piskacek, Avast security researcher.
Cheap knock-offs deliver a boatload of ads
The apps are cheap knock-offs of EA’s famous FIFA mobile game, and according to Avast, are more concerned with collecting data on users and showing ads than actually delivering a worthy gaming experience.
All four apps also have very poor reviews on the Play Store, and their names are Football 2015, Football 2016 – 2025, and two apps named Soccer 2016. Their icons are also attached at the end of this article.
Apps also collect data on users, send it to an advertising company
Regardless if the user clicks Ok or Cancel, he’ll see ads inside the games later on. Also, by agreeing to these terms, the apps start collecting data on the user, which they redirect to Airpush’s servers.
The data collected on users includes device ID, IP address, a list of apps installed on the smartphone, geolocation data, browser history, and email address.
Some apps don’t even provide a fully-functional game
Avast says that all games are riddled with ads, have extremely poor quality, and one of them is quite useless, not even showing clothes on its players, who look more like mannequins.
During its experiment, Avast says the ads redirected users most of the time to install other apps from the Google Play Store, which means the developers of these apps are likely to be enlisted in various app distribution affiliate programs that provide a pay-per-install fee.
With the summer’s football tournaments approaching fast, it’s probably safer if you watch them on TV and not try to replicate the action on your phone with all kinds of shady apps.