It’s one thing when an mobile app is engaged in fraudulent advertising practices. It’s another level entirely when eight apps on the Google Play store are committing the same crime, all at the same time.
Specifically, all eight apps were created and released on the Android platform by two China-based companies – Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech. Of the eight, seven of the apps belong to the former, while the last app was created by the latter.
According to BuzzFeed News, the discovery was made by app analytics firm Kochava, who discovered that both companies had abuse app permissions in order to monitor new downloads. In order to give them access to user’s phone, enabling them to download and hijack app-install bounties.
The affected apps you’re going to want to keep an eye out for are Clean Master, Cm File Manager, CM Launcher 3D, Security Master, Battery Doctor, CM Locker, and Cheetah Keyboard. For Kika Tech, the app goes by the name Keka Keyboard.
Cheetah Mobile is relatively notorious among app developers for fraudulent actions, such as giving similar (if not identical) names to popular apps. In order to trick users into downloading its own apps. In total, all of the listed apps above has garnered more than 2 billion downloads.
Unfortunately, Cheetah Mobile isn’t the only one with questionable apps on Google Play Store. Prior to this, Google has just pulled 13 malware-riddled apps off its digital market, all of which had been downloaded more than half a million times.