Android users are being warned about hundreds of apps that were found on the Google Play Store which can break their phones.
Android is one of the most used pieces of software in the world, with over two billions devices each month running the Google mobile OS.
But the popular OS is no stranger to security alerts, with a number of Google Play Store apps sparking widespread threats on Android.
Six Android apps that were downloaded a staggering 90million times from the Google Play Store were found to have been loaded with the PreAMo malware.
While another recent threat saw 50 malware-filled apps on the Google Play Store infect over 30million Android devices.
And now Android fans are being warned about hundreds of apps that were located on the Google Play Store which can break their phones.
Security experts at Lookout have discovered 238 apps that were housed on the Google Play Store which left Android phones “nearly unusable”.
The apps were loaded with the BeiTaPlugin adware, and in total the Android programmes were installed more than 440million times.
The malware forcibly displays adverts on an Android user’s lock screen and also triggers video or audio ads to play even when a phone is asleep.
In a post online, Lookout’s Kristina Balaam said: “Lookout has discovered 238 unique applications that include BeiTaPlugin, adware that renders a mobile device nearly unusable, in the Google Play Store.
“Lookout reported the malicious functionality to Google and the BeiTaPlugin has now been removed from all the affected apps on the Play store.
“Cumulatively, these applications amount to over 440 million installations, making this family unique in its prevalence and the level of obfuscation used to hide the plugin’s existence.
“While the vast majority of free mobile applications monetize their apps through Ad SDKs or plugins, the persistence of the advertisements in this particular family and the lengths to which the developer went to hide its existence make the BeiTaPlugin concerning.”
Lookout said all of the apps that were loaded with malware were published by the Shanghai-based CooTek firm.
All of the affected apps have, since May 23 2019, either been removed from the Play Store or updated to versions without the malware.
For a full list of the affected apps click here to be directed to the Lookout post on the Android malware threat.
Speaking about the impact of the malware, Lookout added: “Users have reported being unable to answer calls or interact with other apps, due to the persistent and pervasive nature of the ads displayed.
“These ads do not immediately bombard the user once the offending application is installed, but become visible at least 24 hours after the application is launched.”
• Stay tuned to Express.co.uk for more Android news