BeiTaAd – New Malicious Adware Discovered on Android

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July 18, 2019

The Android ecosystem is a scary, scary place. Where Apple’s iOS App Store is a walled, curated and highly regulated walled garden, Google’s Play Store is almost the exact opposite. It’s a wild, overgrown place where and there’s little to no oversight when it comes to what gets uploaded and distributed.Because it’s such a wild and lawless place, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of apps containing malware. Malware, as we all know, is “no bueno” and installing it on any of your IoT devices is generally a guaranteed and quick way to ruin your day.

If you’re an iOS user you can stop reading and get back to Candy Crush and that level you’ve been trying to beat since March.

If you’re an Android user you might want to keep reading…

Lookout, a cyber security firm that focuses on post-perimeter security (mainly regarding mobile devices), found 238 popular apps on the Google Play Store were infected with a new strain of malicious adware called BeiTaPlugin and that it had been put there on purpose.

The app developer, CooTek has apparently been baking this particularly nasty bug into their apps since 2018.  Apps from CooTek that include the adware have over 100,000,000 downloads.

Basically, one installed, the app will begin to solicit ads nonstop, even out of the app and it pretty much bricks your device. Lookout says it can take up to two weeks for the adware to activate.

Luckily, the 238 apps have been removed from the Google Play Store and shouldn’t harm people going forward. However, if your device has one of the apps installed on it, you might be a sitting duck for a bunch of unwanted advertisements. 

You can read more about the BeiTaAdPlugin over on Lookout’s blog (https://blog.lookout.com/beitaplugin-adware). Not only is there a full list of the apps affected by BeiTaAd there are also instructions included in the article that will help you to discover if the adware is currently installed on your device.

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Carl Keyser is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Integris.

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