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Popular Android apps are destroying your battery life with SECRET downloads in the background

ANDROID phone owners are being warned over popular apps that are secretly draining your battery life.

The scam apps are described as "infected" and have now been deleted from the official Google Play Store – but may still be lurking on your phone.

Getty – Contributor Android phones are at serious risk from dodgy adware campaigns

According to cybersecurity researchers, the "rogue adware campaign" affects 206 apps, which have been downloaded almost 150million times.

Adware is a type of scam that serves you up with adverts – often in the background – making your device slower, sucking up battery life, and generating profit for crooks.

Security buffs at Checkpoint found hundreds of adware-infected apps on the Google Play Store, and revealed a particularly sinister twist.

It turns out that these dodgy apps hide themselves, making it particularly hard for you to delete them.

Checkpoint The "infected" apps can download background ads on your phone, launch webpages – and even run other apps

"'SimBad' comes with a respected list of capabilities on the user's device, such as removing the icon from the launcher, thus making it harder for the user to uninstall, starting to display background ads and open a browser with a given URL," said Checkpoint's Elena Root.

When apps show you advertisements, money is generated – but crooks can trick apps into loading background ads that you never see.

That means companies are paying out for ads no one is seeing, hurting your phone experience for the benefit of criminals.

Alamy All of the apps were available to download on the official Google Play Store

According to researchers, the developers who created the apps aren't at fault – and were tricking into allowing the adware on their apps and games.

"We believe the developers were scammed to use this malicious SDK, unaware of its content, leading to the fact that this campaign was not targeting a specific country or developed by the same developer," Elena explained.

"The malware has been dubbed 'SimBad' due to the fact that a large portion of the infected applications are simulator games."

Google was notified of the adware campaign and has removed the infected applications from the Play Store.

But you'll need to manually delete the apps from your phone to stay safe.

How to delete Android apps

Normally, deleting an Android app would just involve holding down on the app in the phone's main app launcher.

But this scam hides that app icon from your launcher, so you need to uninstall the app in settings instead.

Simply go into Settings then Apps, then tap the correct app and choose Uninstall.

Dodgy apps REVEALED

These are the 'infected apps' along with their installation counts…

  • Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator 10,000,000
  • Hoverboard Racing 5,000,000
  • Real Tractor Farming Simulator 5,000,000
  • Ambulance Rescue Driving 5,000,000
  • Heavy Mountain Bus Simulator 2018 5,000,000
  • Fire Truck Emergency Driver 5,000,000
  • Farming Tractor Real Harvest Simulator 5,000,000
  • Car Parking Challenge 5,000,000
  • Speed Boat Jet Ski Racing 5,000,000
  • Water Surfing Car Stunt 5,000,000
  • Offroad Wood Transport Truck Driver 2018 5,000,000
  • Volumen booster & Equalizer 5,000,000
  • Prado Parking Adventure 5,000,000
  • Oil Tanker Transport Truck Driver 5,000,000
  • Monster Truck Demolition 1,000,000
  • Hummer taxi limo simulator 1,000,000
  • Excavator Wrecking Ball Demolition Simulator 1,000,000
  • Offroad Gold Transport Truck Driver 2018 1,000,000
  • Sea Animals Truck Transport Simulator 1,000,000
  • Water Surfing Motorbike Stunt 1,000,000
  • Police Chase 1,000,000
  • Police Plane Transporter 1,000,000
  • Ambulance Driver Extreme Rescue 1,000,000
  • Hovercraft Racer 1,000,000
  • Cars Transport Truck Driver 2018 1,000,000
  • Motorbike Pizza Delivery 1,000,000
  • Heavy Excavator – Stone Cutter Simulator 1,000,000
  • Bottle shoot archery 1,000,000
  • Offroad buggy car racing 1,000,000
  • Garbage Truck – City trash cleaning simulator 1,000,000
  • Tanks Attack 1,000,000
  • Dinosaur Park – Train Rescue 1,000,000
  • Pirate Ship Boat Racing 3D 1,000,000
  • Flying taxi simulator 1,000,000
  • Jetpack Water 1,000,000
  • Volumen Booster 1,000,000
  • Animal Farming Simulator 1,000,000
  • Monster Truck 1,000,000
  • Offroad jeep car racing 1,000,000
  • Flying Car Stunts On Extreme Tracks 1,000,000
  • Tractor Farming 2018 1,000,000
  • Impossible Farming Transport Simulator 1,000,000
  • Volumen Booster 1,000,000
  • Mustang Rally Championship 1,000,000
  • Deleted Photo Recovery 1,000,000
  • Speed Boat Racing 1,000,000
  • Super Cycle Jungle Rider 1,000,000
  • My name on Live Wallpaper 1,000,000
  • Magical Unicorn Dash 1,000,000
  • Super Cycle Jungle Rider 1,000,000
  • Love Caller Screen 1,000,000
  • Racing Car Stunts On Impossible Tracks 1,000,000
  • Racing Car Stunts On Impossible Tracks 2 1,000,000
  • Urban Limo Taxi Simulator 1,000,000
  • Tractor Farming Simulator 1,000,000
  • Camper Van Driving 1,000,000
  • Bottle Shoot Sniper 3D 1,000,000
  • Full Screen Incoming Call 1,000,000
  • Beard mustache hairstyle changer Editor 1,000,000
  • Volumen Booster 1,000,000
  • girlfriend photo editor 1,000,000
  • Mobile Number Tracker & Locator 1,000,000
  • Garden Photo Editor 1,000,000
  • Fortune Wheel 1,000,000
  • Farming Transport Simulator 2018 1,000,000
  • OffRoad Tractor Transport 1,000,000
  • my name on live wallpaper 1,000,000
  • Flying Ambulance Emergency Rescue 500,000
  • Mustang Driving Car Race 500,000
  • Waterpark Car Racing 500,000
  • Impossible Tracks – Extreme Trucks 500,000
  • Flying Motorbike Stunts 500,000
  • Fire Truck Emergency Rescue – Driving Simulator 500,000
  • Heavy Snow Excavator Snowplow Simulator 500,000
  • Water Skiing 500,000
  • Women Make Up and Hairstyle Photo Maker 500,000
  • Mountain Bus Simulator 500,000
  • Van Pizza 500,000
  • Truck Transport and Parking Simulator 500,000
  • Hoverboard Racing Spider Attack 500,000
  • Motorsport Race Championship 500,000
  • Demolition Derby 500,000
  • Love Caller with love ringtones 500,000
  • House Transport Truck – Moving Van Simulator 500,000
  • Heavy Excavator Stone Driller Simulator 500,000
  • Super Cycle Downhill Rider 500,000
  • Extreme Rally Championship 500,000
  • Missile Attack Army Truck 500,000
  • Caller Location & Mobile Location Tracker 500,000
  • Mobile number locator 500,000
  • My name on Live Wallpaper 500,000
  • City Metro Bus Pk Driver Simulator 2017 500,000
  • Full Screen Incoming Call 500,000
  • Man Casual Shirt Photo Suit 500,000
  • American muscle car race 500,000
  • Offroad Nuclear Waste Transport – Truck Driver 500,000
  • Mad Cars Fury Racing 100,000
  • High Wheeler Speed Race 100,000
  • Number Coloring 100,000
  • Camper Van Race Driving Simulator 2018 100,000
  • Unicorn Float – Speed Race 100,000
  • Dual Screen Browser 100,000
  • Harvest Timber Simulator 100,000
  • Hot Micro Racers 100,000
  • Lara Unicorn Dash 100,000
  • Wingsuit Simulator 100,000
  • Food Truck Driving Simulator 100,000
  • Dog Race Simulator 100,000
  • SUV car – parking simulator 100,000
  • Phone Finder 100,000
  • Phone number locator 100,000
  • Gallery Lock 100,000
  • Secret screen recorder 100,000
  • Face Beauty Makeup 100,000
  • Christmas letters to santa and three wise man 100,000
  • Deleted Files recovery 100,000
  • Dual Screen Browser 100,000
  • Broken Screen – Cracked Screen 100,000
  • Garden Photo Editor 100,000
  • Modi Photo Frame 2 100,000
  • Love Caller Screen 100,000
  • Anti Theft & Full Battery Alarm 100,000
  • Love Caller Screen 2 100,000
  • Voice reading for SMS. Whatsapp & text sms 100,000
  • Name on Pic-Name art 100,000
  • Speed Boat Racing 100,000
  • Train Driving Simulator 100,000
  • Super Cycle Rider 100,000
  • Racing Horse Championship 3D 100,000
  • Move App To SD Card 2016 100,000
  • Pop Toy Creator 100,000
  • Photo Live Wallpaper 50,000
  • Magical Unicorn Dash 50,000
  • Truck Wheel of Death 50,000
  • Live Translator 50,000
  • Volume Control Widget 50,000
  • World cup 2018 football shirt maker 50,000
  • Girlfriend Photo Editor 2 50,000
  • My Photo on Music Player 50,000
  • taxi 50,000
  • Garden Photo Editor 50,000
  • Fortune Wheel Deluxe 50,000
  • Extreme Motorcycle Racer 50,000
  • Offroad Snow Bike – Christmas Racing 50,000
  • Bottle Shoot 50,000
  • Photo Background Changer 2017 50,000
  • Offroad Christmas Tree Transport 50,000
  • Tank Transport Army Truck 50,000
  • Flag face paint: World Cup 2018 10,000
  • World Cup 2018 Teams Flags Live Wallpaper 10,000
  • Selfie Camera 10,000
  • Missile Attack Army Truck 10,000
  • Max Player 10,000
  • Flash Alert – Flash on Call 10,000
  • Photo Video Maker with Music 10,000
  • Brain Games & IQ Test 10,000
  • Audio Video Mixer 10,000
  • Pop Toy Creator 2 10,000
  • Flash on Call and SMS 10,000
  • Heart Photo Frames 10,000
  • Shayari 2017 10,000
  • Photo on Birthday Cake 10,000
  • Nature Photo Frames 10,000
  • Calendar 2018 Photo Frame 10,000
  • Christmas Truck Transport Simulator 10,000
  • Modern Santa – Christmas van drive 10,000
  • Change your voice 10,000
  • Moster vs Water 10,000
  • EDIT Flowers Photo Frames 10,000
  • Photo Video Maker with Music 10,000
  • Toilet Paper Race 10,000
  • Dog Crazy Race Simulator 10,000
  • Luxury Photo Frame 10,000
  • Bike Wheel of Death 10,000
  • World Famous Photo Frames 10,000
  • Heavy Snow Excavator Christmas Rescue 10,000
  • Deleted Files Recovery 10,000
  • Football Results & Stats Analyzer 5,000
  • 3D Photo Frame Cube Live Wallpaper 5,000
  • Green Hill PhotoFrame 5,000
  • Christmas Magic Board 5,000
  • Animal Parts Photo Editor 5,000
  • DSLR Camera Blur 5,000
  • Car Photo Frame 5,000
  • Hands Slap Game 5,000
  • 4D Maa Durga Live Wallpaper 5,000
  • Men Sweatshirt Photo Editor 1,000
  • Connect Letters. Words Game 1,000
  • Recover Deleted Pictures 1,000
  • Custom Radio Alarm Clock 1,000
  • Anti-spam Calls 1,000
  • Compatibility Test 1,000
  • Dual Screen Browser 1,000
  • Magic Glow Live Wallpaper 1,000
  • Porgy Virtual Pet 1,000
  • Tap the Ball 1,000
  • Clock Live Wallpaper 1,000
  • Royale Stats 1,000
  • Fire text photo frame 1,000
  • Christmas greetings card 1,000
  • Best App Lock 1,000
  • DJ Photo Frames 1,000
  • Auto Call redial 500
  • Guess the picture 500
  • ProfesionalRecorder 500

Exclusive

Dodgy Android apps are stealing your money and info – how to stop them now.

A fake Google Play Store app was found by researchers in October that allowed hackers easy access to your photos and private information.

And if the dodgy software has made you want to switch, it may be time to take a look at our review of the iPhone XS.

Do you think your Android phone is safe? Let us know in the comments!

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