McAfee’s Mobile Research Team recently found that a set of 38 Minecraft copycat games available on Google Play Store. These games had the Android adware called ‘HiddenAds.’ The malicious adware stealthily loaded ads in the background of the games to generate revenue for its operators.
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Minecraft is an extremely popular sandbox game with 140 million monthly active players. Because of its popularity, numerous game publishers have attempted to recreate and develop similar games. The HiddenAds Adware in Minecraft copycat games that investigators found had been got 35 million Android users worldwide. Most of the users who downloaded these games were from the United States, Canada, South Korea, and Brazil.
The downloading users did not know that malicious adware activity because they could still play the games. Additionally, any possible issues, such as overheating, increase in network data, or battery consumption are because loading numerous ads while playing game.
What’s fishy – HiddenAds Adware?
The McAfee team discovered the adware after becoming a member of the App Defense Alliance, whose purpose is to protect Google Play Store from all types of malicious threats. After discovering the infected games, McAfee reported them, and Google Play immediately removed them all from the store. Below is the list of the games with most download which is the malicious set:
- Block Box Master Diamond – 10 million downloads
- Craft Sword Mini Fun – 5 million downloads
- Block Box Skyland Sword – 5 million downloads
- Craft Monster Crazy Sword – 5 million downloads
- Block Pro Forrest Diamond – 1 million downloads
- Block Game Skyland Forrest – 1 million downloads
- Block Rainbow Sword Dragon – 1 million downloads
- Craft Rainbow Mini Builder – 1 million downloads
- Block Forrest Tree Crazy – 1 million downloads
The advertisements, once launch loads advertisments in the background. But nothing is gets on the game’s screen to alert the user. The network traffic analysis reveals the exchange of several harmful packets generated by ad libraries like Google, AppLovin, Unity, and Supersonic, among others. Together with the similar names of the apps and their similar payloads, the researchers speculate that the same author is responsible for creating them. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this claim.
Although adware apps are not considered particularly dangerous for users, it can reduce the performance of the device. It can also raise security and privacy concerns and create security loopholes. It is advisable that Android users review McAfee’s report for a complete list of the affected apps. Users can manually remove them. if they had not been removed already to secure their device’s systems fully.