While the Google Play store does do some regulating on its own, it allows anyone to publish whatever apps they like on the store, and Google doesn't always catch mischievous apps. However, the steps usually happen after millions have installed the application.
Cyber security firm Trend Micro recently found 85 different apps for Android phones that are actually adware apps in disguise.
In most cases, the apps in question posed as games or photography apps. "It isn't your run-of-the-mill adware family", writes Ecular Xu at Trend Micro.
So, what are the "unique techniques" that this adware used to avoid immediate deletion?
The apps also registered time-stamps on when a user unlocks the device. "It first compares the current time (the device's system time) with the timestamp stored as installTime; it then compares the current network time (queried via a RESTful API) with the timestamp stored as networkInstallTime".
Android users need to exercise some caution when downloading apps on the Google Play store. The default time gap is 30 minutes, but that number can vary. They are also hard to eliminate since such apps hide after installation. The good news is the Trend Micro says that as long as your device is running on the latest Android OS, your pretty much out of the woods. This is because the newer versions of Android will prompt you with a confirmation box, essentially becoming the last line of defence between the infected app and your phone. Though these reviews were nearly certainly faked, that could be enough to hook a casual user.