We have reported a previously “trusted” barcode scanner suddenly becoming a malware carrier after an update. Unfortunately, however, the original barcode scanner, developed by ZXing, has apparently been confused with that app and is now receiving a lot of 1-star reviews. While there are those who defend the app by giving 5-star reviews to counter negative publicity, it can still affect the credibility of the app for those who don’t know any better just because it has a similar name to the app that now pushes malware.
The irony, however, is that ZXing’s barcode scanner is one of the first Android apps on the market, even predating the original Android launch. according to The Verge. It has been downloaded by over 100 million users and you have probably never received such complaints before. It hasn’t been updated for years since it’s open source, and its co-creator Sean Owen says there’s no reason for a 13-year-old app to suddenly fool users into installing malware.
The confusion appears to come from another barcode scanner app called Barcode Scanner, but developed by a company called Lavabird. This is the previously reported malware launching app that saw its users suddenly flooded with third party apps after a recent update. At first, some thought it might have been hacked, but if you investigate the developer further it appears to be quite cheesy based in Ukraine.
Since the Lavabird application has already been suspended from the Google Play Store, those who were likely “victimized” by malware may have searched for the Barcode Scanner and found the original from ZXing and left the reviews of the other application there. MalwareBytes, which first reported on the malware app, updated its report to clear up the confusion that the app they identified was from Lavabird and not ZXing.
If you are brave enough to download the original barcode scanner, you will see that it works as is and that no third party advertisements or malware will invade your phone. Let’s see if the negative 1-star reviews will affect it, even though it’s still at 4-star right now.