An extremely popular flashlight app for Android devices is showing malicious ads that try to fool users into installing potentially dangerous applications on their smartphone.
Trend Micro security researchersthat the app Super-Bright LED Flashlight, available from the official Google Play Store, is pestering users with ads after they install it.
While apps that show ads are nothing new, this app shows ads with a scareware tendency that tell users that their phone is infected, or their battery has a virus.
At this point, some more experienced users will just uninstall the app and replace it with another. Less experienced ones might click the ad, and might be tricked into downloading another app, a so-called virus remover or antivirus.
Security experts call these types of apps PUAs (Potentially Unwanted Applications) because often they harbor malware. In its annual report, the company admitted thatof all Play Store app installs in 2015 contained malicious code.
The app’s makers might be innocent, or they might be not
Trend Micro does say that the app and its developers might not be to blame since the ads are retrieved and displayed via an advertising network, but the high number of negative user comments shows they’re not doing anything about it either.
Currently, the app ison the Google Play Store, where Google reports that users installed the app over 100 million times. Trend Micro says they’ve informed both Google and all the stores where the app is available for download.
Because most phones don’t have a built-in flashlight functionality, such apps are in high demand. In the past, crooks have often used games and flashlight apps to distribute malware because of their popularity. While most of the times these malicious apps are distributed via third-party app stores, sometimes, these apps found their way into Google’s Play Store as well.