Google Play Store has proactively tested its protection mechanisms for the applications that are hosted on the platform. That being said, hackers are sometimes one step ahead, and the latest example is the Barcode Scanner app developed by Lavabird, which has become a malware delivery app for innocent users who have recently installed the app or the have had for many years. The discovery made by Malwarebytes in 4th December 2020 found that the app had SDK malware to display ads from third-party vendors.
According to Malwarebytes, one of its forum users reported that ads were appearing on the phone from the default browser. Later, a user with username Anon00 came across the Barcode Scanner app on his phone, which had been installed for quite some time and turned out to be the culprit.
Before the latest update, the app was clean as a whistle, and on posting the update it turned out evil. The app used heavy obfuscation to avoid any detection by the Play Store security mechanisms instead and Malwarebytes detected the malicious ‘Android / Trojan.HiddenAds.AdQR’ in the application code.
The app was reported to Google and was immediately removed from the Play Store. However, for modest users who have the app on their phone, they should manually uninstall it as soon as possible.
With more than 10 million downloads, it is unfortunate that the Barcode Scanner app turned out to be bad after years of trust. The intention of making money from the ads of external clients pushed the developers to make the decision to betray their users or maybe some hacker got hold of the application to insert the malware also for the developer who did not know.
In this case, the first scenario is more likely as Lavabird incorporated in March 2020 is registered in the UK, although the manufacturer Dmytro Kizema, is based in Ukraine. When checking the website, things don’t look promising as there is only one email address available.
Other apps from the same developer include the ones that speed up your phone, browser, and keyboard app. For now, you need to stay away from anything by the developer and also check if you have the Barcode Scanner app installed by Lavabird on your phone.