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Google Play scam apps hit 8MILLION Android phone owners – slowing your phone down and killing its battery

ANDROID users are being warned over dodgy "scam apps" that drain your battery, slow your phone down and take over your screen.

As many as 85 different apps from the official Google Play Store have been branded "fraudulent".

Most of the dodgy downloads are either photo-editing apps or games.

And security firm Trend Micro says they've been downloaded more than eight million times in total.

The apps are known as "adware", created by crooks to earn money by flooding your phone with advertisements.

All of the apps have now been removed from the Play Store, but may still be lurking on your phone.

Typically, adware programs will run ads in the background on your phone

These silent ads won't show up for you, but will slow your phone down and drain battery life.

This will generate quick cash for scam app crooks at your expense.

But Trend Micro researchers note that this latest group of dodgy apps had another sneaky trick.

"It isn't your run-of-the-mill adware family," said Trend Micro's Ecular Xu.

"If the app has determined that it has been installed for more than 30 minutes, the app will then hide its icon and create a shortcut on the device's home screen.

"This would deter the app from being uninstalled by dragging and dropping its icon to the Uninstall section of the screen."

Simply put, the app makes itself difficult to delete.

Normally you'd just drag an app to the big to delete it.

But if the app's icon has been replaced by a shortcut, dragging it to the bin will only delete the shortcut itself – and not uninstall the app.

Uninstalling the app would require navigating to the settings, which is a much more laborious process.

The apps were also slammed by researchers for launching brazen full-screen ads that were "difficult to close".

This is also a major nuisance, and can ruin a user's daily phone experience.

'Compromised' apps revealed

Here's Trend Micro's full list...

How to avoid dodgy Android apps

Some smartphones will automatically limit the adware's impact.

For instance, recent Samsung devices have a feature that restricts the creation of shortcuts on your home screen, Trend Micro explains.

This will make it easier for you to uninstall rogue apps.

But the best advice is to be wary of the apps you download, even if they're from the official Google Play Store.

"It pays to read the app reviews before installing them, as they can help raise red flags if they show suspicious behaviours," said Xu.

Google warns BILLIONS of passwords have been hacked in cyber security breach

Last week, Google revealed that billions of website passwords had been hacked.

In related news, cyber-experts recently warned that hackers could hijack your phone to inflict tinnitus, and even melt your gadgets using "sonic warfare".

New hacked iPhone cables let crooks completely hijack your gadgets.

And a shock Instagram blunder let strangers secretly download your photos, videos and location – with "millions of users" affected.

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