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Malware PDF reader shows full-screen adverts

PDF reader

Experts have warned that one of the most downloaded PDF reader apps from the Google Play Store is actually a cover for malicious malware.

Researchers at Malwarebytes discovered that a software dubbed “PDF reader – documents viewer” actually did nothing of the like, but rather constantly bombarded users’ devices with intrusive full-screen advertisements.

Over a million users have downloaded the app, and Google has yet to remove it, so the corporation is warning that many more people could fall prey to its seductive charms in the near future.

Pain-DF reader

Malwarebytes describes how the programme tricks users by not displaying adverts immediately after installation.

It waits a few hours, making it difficult to identify the offending app. When engaged, the programme fills the user’s home screen with full-page ads, restricting access until the ad is clicked.

The longer a user forgets to check the app, the more often video advertisements will play in the background, making it impossible to use the device.

Malwarebytes says the initial Google Play app listing page raised red flags that may have alerted people to the scam. This includes a “Mature 17+” content classification – rare for an Android PDF reader – and the developer name “Fairy games”

“If you have a lot of apps on your phone, it’s hard to find,” Malwarebytes said. “Another reason to not trust Google Play installations. Play Store is the safest place to install Android apps, yet it can fail. It is best to use anti-malware or anti-adware. Beware!”

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