The Google Play store has hit the headlines again after 50 Android apps were removed last week because they were compromised by the Tekya auto-clicker-malware. Concerningly, these apps had over one million downloads between them. Worse still, more than half of the affected apps were aimed at kids.
What is Tekya?
Tekya is a special type of malware called an “auto-clicker”. Although Tekya is part of a sophisticated ad fraud scheme that generates thousands of dollars for the criminals behind it.
When an infected game is opened, Tekya “clicks” on the ads shown in the app. Every click on the ad results in a payment for the app owner – they are paid for running the ads. The more times the ad is clicked, the more money the advertiser receives. And because the criminals “own” the app and are running the ads, they get to keep all the money.
On the positive side, Tekya is relatively harmless for you, the user. Current variants do not steal personal information, delete data or connect to botnets for instance. But not all malware is so benign.
Criminals don’t care who they target
Ad fraud is worth billions of dollars every year which is why scammers spend so much time and effort trying to get malware infected apps into the Google Play store. The more infected downloads they can get, the more money the scammers stand to make.
With so much money at stake, hackers don’t care who they target – and kids are even easier to trick than adults. Children are far less likely to be suspicious of official-looking apps – and if their friends are already playing a particular game, they won’t be able to resist downloading it.
Keeping your kids safe
Google is supposed to test every app for malware before it is added to the Play Store, but sometimes scammers get through. Tekya uses some very clever coding to get around these tests – so it’s possible there are more infected apps hiding in plain sight.
If you can’t be 100% sure that the apps on official stores are safe, there is just one other thing you can do – install an anti-malware tool. Panda Antivirus for Android can detect malware activity automatically and alert you when suspicious activity is detected. You can then delete the app from your device.
Mobile anti-virus not only stops ad fraud, but also protects your smartphone against other malware side effects, like running more slowly than normal. It will also help protect your kids against other, more destructive or offensive malware that could be installed by accident.
Best of all, basic Panda Antivirus for Android is completely free – so there’s no excuse for not installing it. After all, mobile malware is an important tool for keeping your kids safe online.