Aggressive adware from this popular Android app ruins your phone – get rid of it now

A newly discovered adware app on the Google Play Store with over a million downloads sneakily hides an aggressive form of adware, and the developer has made it difficult to detect the source of the annoying full-screen ads the app comes with.

Tracked by Malwarebytes (opens in a new tab)The PDF reader app uses common adware development kits (SDKs) and its own SDK to display full-screen ads that appear on a phone, even when the app is not being used.

As the report points out, the SDKs used, such as Applovin and Facebook Ads, are fine for displaying ads within the app, allowing it to be free. However, bombarding users with frequent advertisements, even video ads, outside of the app makes it a malicious form of adware.

PDF Reader App with Adware Example via Malwarebytes (Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Also, full-screen ads take a few hours to start displaying to make it more difficult for the user to figure out where the displayed ads are coming from. Malware researcher Nathan Collier recorded every step of how the adware runs, noting that the PDF reader app will “sound like a charm” when the screen is locked, and launch a full-screen ad once unlocked.

Even after the first ad is shown, another ad appears in the form of a video soon after. Collier says that after the initial announcements, they start showing up more often. The app is said to be around since November 2021, and with over a million downloads according to its Google Play listing, many users might download the app without knowing it.

Example of PDF reader adware via Malwarebytes (Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Don’t let adware ruin your phone

Leave a Comment