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A CYBERSECURITY team has flagged a baker's dozen worth of malicious apps in the Google Play Store, putting Android users everywhere at risk.

The malicious apps have been downloaded by millions of unsuspecting users.

1This malware scheme floods the user's phone with advertisementsCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Cybersecurity analysts at McAfee published a blog explaining the threat of HiddenAds, a new strain of malware.

Downloading one of the flagged apps will saddle the user with a steady stream of pop-up advertisements on their device.

"Automatically executed services constantly display advertisements to victims," McAfee analysts explain.

The scammers leveled up their scheme by taking out advertising space for their "apps" on Facebook.

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The apps evade detection by the user by changing their icon and camouflaging in the home screen.

The apps will "change their icon to a Google Play icon that users are familiar with and change its name to ‘Google Play’ or ‘Setting’" McAfee's blog explains.

It takes a sharp eye to notice a duplicate icon or an imposter Settings app, making diagnosing the problem even more challenging.

Worse yet, the malware script is so efficient that the malicious program will self-execute as soon as its downloaded.

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"The first activity of this malware will create a permanent malicious service for displaying advertisements," McAfee's blog continues.

The 13 apps that were flagged as fraudulent have been removed from the Google Play Store.

Remember that removal from the Google Play Store will not remove the apps from your device.

Manually delete these thirteen apps if you've fallen into the malware's trap: Junk Cleaner, EasyCleaner, Power Doctor, Full Clean, Fingertip Cleaner, Quick Cleaner, Keep Clean, Windy Clean, Carpet Clean, Cool Clean, Strong Clean and Meteor Clean.

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Remember to vet the apps you use before freely downloading.

If an app has limited reviews or it's the developer's only product, then install with extreme caution or do not install at all.

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Tags: scammers google fraudulent android google the malicious the malicious the malware

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FBI concludes Alec Baldwin must have pulled trigger in Rust shooting: Report

Alec Baldwin must have pulled the trigger to fire the gun that fatally shot a cinematographer on the set of the movie Rust, according to an FBI forensic report released on Friday.

The report comes 10 months after the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western movie, and the conclusions contradict claims from Baldwin last year when he said he did not pull the trigger. Instead, the actor said he believed he was handling a gun that did not have live ammunition when the gun went off, killing Hutchins and injuring one of the film’s directors.


The firearm used in the shooting, a .45 Colt caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver, could not have been fired in an accidental discharge without the trigger being pulled, the FBI determined in its report obtained by ABC News.

No charges have been made in Hutchinson’s death, and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has classified the death as an accident, according to the outlet.

Baldwin said in an Instagram video posted Jan. 8 that the claims he is not complying with authorities were “bulls***” and “a lie.” He insisted the process "takes time" and involves cooperation with authorities where he lives.

Baldwin and the Rust production crew are currently facing several lawsuits over the shooting, including one from Hutchins's family that alleges emotional and physical harm from the incident. Baldwin's lawyers attempted to dismiss the case, noting that New Mexico labor law should handle the matter rather than the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, also filed a suit against the ammunition supplier in January, alleging the company had created "dangerous conditions" onset due to mishandling the live rounds.


The actor has attempted to distance himself from the shooting in recent months, telling ABC News in an emotional interview it was the worst thing that has ever happened to him. Law enforcement officials are still investigating the incident, waiting on phone records from Baldwin.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said Baldwin did not give his phone to authorities when they issued a warrant on Dec. 16, leading the office to reach out to the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 20, the sheriff's office was advised that the district attorney's office was in negotiations with Baldwin’s attorney "to obtain consent to retrieve the phone and its contents."

FBI News Alec Baldwin Police

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