ANDROID phone owners are being warned about apps infected with dodgy code that sucks up battery life.
Worse still, the affected apps can also hoover up your monthly data allowance – and potentially land you with £100s in overage bills.
Getty Images – Getty Dodgy Android apps could be putting you at risk
Tech firm Oracle has revealed how apps downloaded millions of times have become infected with something called DrainerBot.
The rogue code is described as a “major mobile ad fraud operation”, and can have devastating effects for users.
One of the main drawbacks is major drain on your phone’s battery life, which can be a big issue if you already find your charge stretched – but that’s not all.
“Infected apps can consume more than 10GB of data per month downloading hidden and unseen video ads, potentially costing each device owner a hundred dollars per year or more in data overage charges,” Oracle explained.
Getty – Contributor Android phone owners need to be careful about the apps they install
According to Oracle, hundreds of popular consumer apps have been infected, including:
Draw Clash of Clans
Touch ‘n’ Beat – Cinema
Solitaire: 4 Seasons (Full)
“Apps with active DrainerBot infections appear to have been downloaded by consumers more than 10million times, according to public download counts,” oracle warned.
So what is DrainerBot? It’s a fraud operation that inserts infected code on Android smartphones and tablets.
Once a device is infected, DrainerBot can deliver “fraudulent, invisible ads” to the device.
These ads won’t be seen by you, but will run in the background – earning a tidy profit for crooks, all at your expense.
The infected app is telling an ad network that it has delivered video ads on legitimate sites, but actually they’re quietly appearing in the background of your device.
Android apps – how to stay safeHere’s what you need to know…
Remember to only install apps from the official Google Play Store
However, dodgy apps can still make it onto the Play Store, so make sure you’re downloading from reputable sources
Check the Battery section of your phone’s settings to see if certain apps are using lots of power in the background
And check in Data Usage in your settings too, to see if some apps are consuming a curiously high amount of data
If they are, it might be worth deleting them
Always make sure you’re using the latest software on your phone, and update your apps. That way, you’ll have the latest security updates
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The crooks receive payment for showing the ads, but the advertisers are being fooled – because no one ever saw the ads.
However, your battery life is “slurped”, as well as your data (because your phone is downloading video ads).
“DrainerBot is one of the first major ad fraud operations to cause clear and direct financial harm to consumers,” said Oracle’s Eric Roza.
“DrainerBot-infected apps can cost users hundreds of dollars in unnecessary data charges while wasting their batteries and slowing their devices.
“We look forward to working with companies across the digital advertising ecosystem to identify, expose, and prevent this and other emerging types of ad fraud.”
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Beware of the dodgy apps that could be draining your Android phone battery life.
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Are you happy with your smartphone’s battery life? Let us know in the comments!
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