Skip to main content

Update To Popular Android App Included Malware Infection

By February 20, 2021May 11th, 2022Cybersecurity

Do you use the popular Android app, “Barcode Scanner?” If so, you’re certainly not alone. The app has racked up more than 10 million downloads on Google’s Play Store and is one of the most popular apps in its class.

It’s a simple, straightforward bit of code that does exactly what it sounds like it does, which is why so many people have come to rely on it over the years.

Unfortunately, Google recently pulled the plug, removing the app from the store after it had been there for years. The reason? Sometime during December 2020, an update to the code saw the injection of malware.

Many users give the apps they use regularly a fairly free hand when it comes to downloading and installing updates. In this case, if you let your Barcode Scanner auto-update, the update installed a nasty Trojan on your smartphone that allows hackers complete control over the device. Not good.

Among other things being reported by users who have been impacted by the update are:

  • Default browser changing
  • New default browser opening with no user intervention and surfing to different, usually ad-intensive pages.
  • And displaying ads touting the supposed benefits of other apps that are thought to contain malware.

As bad as those things are, they’re not as bad as they could be. Had the malware’s owners wished, they could have done significantly more damage than that.

Even so, the app has rightly been pulled from the Play Store and if you have it installed on your phone but haven’t allowed it an update in a while, your best bet is to uninstall it and find an alternative that’s not brimming with malicious code. Kudos to Google for taking swift action, even if it meant the sudden end of an app with a multi-year history as a safe, reliable product.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.