Avast there: MEELLIONS of Androiders scuttled by 'adware' game app
'Software flung naughty adverts at screens'
Card-game players are being warned about an Android app in Google's Play Store that reportedly slaps adverts all over your handheld.
The accused app recreates Durak, a traditional Russian game, and is rather imaginatively called Durak Card Game. Built by Pocket games Ltd, the application has been downloaded between five and 10 million times, according to Google.
After getting complaints from users, Filip Chytry, a malware analyst at security firm Avast, started digging, and claims the application spams dodgy adverts onto screens as devices boot up or are unlocked. Chytry reckons steps are taken to hide exactly where the ads are coming from.
Firstly, the software waits for 30 days before starting to spam out adverts, we're told. This is to stop there being a clear link between the ads and the installation of a particular app.
"Each time you unlock your device, an ad is presented to you, warning you about a problem, eg that your device is infected, out of date or full of porn. This, of course, is a complete lie," Chytry writes in a blog post.
"You are then asked to take action, however, if you approve you get re-directed to harmful threats on fake pages, like dubious app stores and apps that attempt to send premium SMS behind your back or to apps that simply collect too much of your data for comfort while offering you no additional value."
The software also directs users to legitimate security applications as well, claiming that they will clear the smartphone of the advert-serving. This is another attempt at misdirection, Chytry claims.
What's especially worrying is that the application is so widely used. It was only uploaded less than three months ago, but has a huge number of users, it seems. Of course, Avast touts software to protect against mobile malware – and claims there are other apps, from an IQ tester to a history app, that are also rather naughty with advertisements.
Google is investigating the application and may pull it from its official store – in fact, as The Register was going to press, it appears that is the case. Meanwhile, there's no answer to a request for comment from Pocket games. ®