A security firm has warned phone users to delete 15 potentially harmful apps on their mobiles.
Android users are being told delete the popular add-ons, which are available from the Google play store.
The apps have amassed over 1.3 million between them but should be removed immediately warns the security firm, Sophos.
The company has issued a new reported saying that not only are filled with deceitful adware, but can also hide themselves on your smartphone or tablet.
This means you could forget you’d even installed the malware-laced software, reports Daily Express.
As if that wasn’t frightening enough, some of the scam apps disguise themselves as harmless system apps.
Sophos has named the apps it claims are potentially dangerous.
The apps in question are:
• Flash On Calls & Messages
• Read QR Code
• Imagine Magic
• Generate Elves
• QR Artifact
• Find Your Phone : Whistle
• Scavenger – – – speed guard
• Auto Cut Out Pro
• Background Cut Out
• Photo Background
• Background Cut Out New
• Auto Cut Out
• Auto Cut Out 2019
Flash On Calls & Messages’ devious tactics were described by Sophos in detail. According to the researcher, the app shows a fake error message when launched which says it’s incompatible with the device in question.
Then, the app takes users to the Google Maps app within the Play Store in an attempt to trick them into thinking it’s the source of the problem.
While that’s taking place, Flash On Calls & Messages will hide its own app picture from the user’s app drawer – making it much harder to find and uninstall.
Other apps mentioned above were noted to change their app icon picture to make them appear to be harmless and essential apps. Some of the names used were said to be “Google Play Store”, “Update”, “Back Up” and “Time Zone Service”.
Although each app’s disguise methods can make them harder to find, Sophos has offered advice to users wanting to uninstall them immediately.
Speaking to TechRadar , the British security firm said: “If you suspect that an app you recently installed is hiding its icon in the app tray, tap Settings (the gear menu) and then Apps & Notifications. The most recently opened apps appear in a list at the top of this page.
“If any of those apps use the generic Android icon (which looks like a little greenish-blue Android silhouette) and have generic-sounding names (‘Back Up,’ ‘Update,’ ‘Time Zone Service’) tap the generic icon and then tap ‘Force Stop’ followed by ‘Uninstall.’ A real system app will have a button named ‘Disable’ instead of ‘Uninstall’ and you don’t need to bother disabling it.”
While all of the apps mentioned above have since been removed from the Google Play Store, Sophos has warned other available programmes could perform similar tactics when downloaded.
Therefore, the company encouraged users to scour reviews for any new apps downloaded from Google’s marketplace to see if there are reports of strange activity.