A horde of Android malware has been found on Google Play

One of the downsides of Android is that malware is a very real threat, and internet security firm Avast has just revealed that a new variety of malware has found its way onto Google Play and onto millions of devices via seemingly legitimate content.

Avast was made aware of the malware’s existence from a post on its forum, leading to a thorough investigation and the discovery of the malware. It was present in a number of apps and games (many of which have now been pulled), and is designed to hide in the device for some time before flashing up adverts every time the user unlocks their device.

Some of those adverts claim that the phone is infected with malware, or that security updates are needed. Sometimes they would link to a compromised website, but others would take them to legitimate security tools on the Google Play store.

While linking to legitimate tools might seem counter productive for whoever is responsible for the malware, though Avast does point out that it could be a tactic to distract people from the problem by offering tools that won’t help.

Avast promises that the app detection feature in its premium smartphone app will be able to deal with any infected devices, but sadly there doesn’t appear to be a free solution just yet.

Tom Pritchard