Digital security researchers have discovered a previously unknown type of ad-serving malware in more than 200 Android apps, some of which have been downloaded by millions of users. The AdWare, which security firm Check Point calls “SimBad,” creates a backdoor and allows its creator to install additional programs, according to TechCrunch. The firm notified Google of the vulnerability, and the apps have all been pulled from the Google Play Store. It’s still on us, however, to delete these apps from our phones.
Check Point has published the list of apps, which includes the names, file names, and the number of installs for each of the infected apps. While the infected apps run the gamut from random phone utilities to camera after-effects, most of the affected apps seem to be games. Of the top 14 most popular apps, each of which was downloaded at least 5,000,000 times, 13 are games:
If you find that you’ve downloaded any of these apps, restart your phone in Safe Mode. The step-by-step process of rebooting to Safe Mode varies by model, but the most common way is to long-press the on-screen “Power Off” option that appears when you push the physical power button. (Here are a couple of other variants).
Once in Safe Mode, go to the Settings menu and tap Apps to find a list of every app installed on your phone. Delete the infected app and check for any other apps you don’t recognize. Malware often hides by removing itself from your home screen, so if there’s an app with a name or icon you don’t know, that may have been installed through the backdoor.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve downloaded any of these apps, it’s also not a bad idea to download some virus scanning software to help make sure your phone is secure.