According to Ars Technica, experts found the ad code named BeiTaAd hidden in 238 applications on Google Play Store. This number of applications is downloaded in total of 440 million times and provides income for the hacker behind by displaying ads on the user's device. With hundreds of millions of devices infected, the amount of money the hackers take will not be small at all.
More seriously, when installing one of 238 applications, Android users did not realize that they had just installed an ad code application. The reason is that BeiTaAd malware is designed to not do anything unusual within 24 hours to 1 week after being installed.
When enabled, BeiTaAd displays ads outside the application so users cannot know which application is the cause of the problem. Ads often show up on the lock screen, not inside the app and even run audio / video in random times.
On the Android forum, many people complained that their smartphones were infected with BeiTaAd and could not delete it. Among them was a guy who said that BeiTaAd caused his wife's smartphone to be paralyzed, unable to be used.
"My wife suffers the same thing. This monster virus will display random ads, right in the middle of a call or whenever she uses the functions on the smartphone. We can't find any. It is extremely annoying and almost makes her phone useless. ", DazDilinger45 users share.
Security firm Lookout believes that the people behind 238 applications have tried their best to hide the existence of BeiTaAd ad code. All applications are released by a Chinese company called CooTek.
Lookout reported a list of 238 apps to Google and Google quickly removed them all from Play Store. However, it is not known how many of these applications are able to cross the Google Play Protect censorship barrier and exist on Play Store for months.