Half a billion Android devices are infected with plugin advertising

More than 440 million smartphones with Android operating system are infected with an advertising plugin that appears on the screen disrupting the user experience. According to researchers at Lookout Research , these plugins were installed through legitimate apps that were present in the Google Play Store, the official Android apps store.

Researchers note that many victims of this plugin report the inability to answer calls or use other apps

The advertising plugin was present in 238 applications with millions of downloads. All these apps were from the Chinese company CookTek. According to the researchers, this plugin known as BeiTaPlugin forces advertisements on the cell phone lock screen, in addition to forcing up video and audio input - and this happens even with the cell phone on the mute. Other areas of the device also end up displaying advertisements.

The researchers note that many victims of this plugin report the inability to even answer calls or use other apps because of the invasive advertisements. They also note that the "infection" is clever:

"These ads do not bomb the user immediately after the bad app is installed, but they are visible for at least 24 hours after launching the app," the researchers said. "For example, intrusive ads did not show up until two weeks after the Smart Scan application was installed on a Lookout test device."

Apps ads have been taken from the Play Store, however, they may be on your phone. CookTek's main app is called TouchPal. For more details, visit the Lookout page. Source

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