Barcode Scanner, an app available on Google Play store for many years, has been removed from the app store after adware was detected. Malwarebytes says that users started to report of unruly ads opening via their default browser out of nowhere, and one forum users traced this unethical behavior to Barcode Scanner, which enjoyed 10 million installs before being removed. Google delisted the app after it was made aware of this issue. Interestingly, Barcode Scanner was also a part of the tech-giant’s Play Pass program that offers paid subscribers perks like access to premium apps for free.
Malwarebytes, on its, reports that the users on its forums were reporting of a strange behavior wherein the default browser on their phone was automatically opening a fishy-looking website asking them to install another ‘Cleaner app’ attacking bogus security issues. This unruly pop-up on their phone’s screen prompted users to report it and ultimately the culprit was traced to be Barcode Scanner. Google has since delisted the app, but it still remains installed on phones that downloaded it earlier. Android Police That Barcode Scanner was a part of the Google Play Pass program earlier, meaning it was offered as a perk to premium subscribers.
For those who have this Barcode Scanner app on their phone, it is recommended that you uninstall it immediately. If you can’t see the app, but are experiencing the unruly browser issue, then downloadand search for ‘barcode scanner’ to see if your phone has the app and then delete it. The result should have the package name “com.qrcodescanner.barcodescanner.”
The security firm says that Barcode Scanner was a simple app that later turned malicious, presumably after an update late last year. Specifically, an update rolled out on December 4 last year seems to have triggered the app to send adware on installed phones. Before that, the app was installed on handsets for years without any issue. The developer of the app at the time of removal was LavaBird Ltd.
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