Why you need to delete these 100 apps

Google has reportedly removed more than 100 apps with tens of millions of downloads after allegations the apps were part of a co-ordinated group that may have violated store policies.

The group allegedly involves at least 27 separate app developers (that could also be pseudonyms), according to tech outlet CyberNews.

The outlet alleges the apps were made (and often ripped off from other developers, including some in the alleged network) to generate ad revenue.

The full list of apps below.

Most of the apps are simple ones focusing on things like scanning PDFs and making photo collages, likely deliberately chosen because they provide sought after services people want quickly and are likely to download them without thinking too hard about it.

The research alleges the group's apps were downloaded 69 million times and could have been generating $US10,000 a month, or even up to $US1 million, though they say it's likely to be on the lower end of that spectrum.

But the apps don't appear to require much work to make and publish on the Google Play Store, which is what initially raised the suspicions of the researchers, after discovering links between different developers.

The apps have been downloaded more than 69 million times.
The apps have been downloaded more than 69 million times.

The app developers mostly have a first name-last name style developer name usually featuring Western-style names, which might seem like a tenuous link at first, but it goes deeper.

The developers all use the same Privacy Policy with names changed.

The websites for the apps all have similar URLs and lead to similar landing pages for websites that haven't been set up yet.

Some of the apps have been directly copied from other more popular apps.

"These apps are exactly the same," CyberNews reported. "The only difference is that the [network's] app is flooded with ads, including interstitials after nearly every user interaction."

Some of the cloned apps changed minor things like the colours of buttons and banners, but others are identical.

Suspiciously, the name of some of the apps on the Play Store also changed names after being installed.

Multiple apps in the alleged network appear to have been adapted from the same master templates as well.

The research doesn't conclusively reveal where the network is based, but all the evidence seems to point towards Asia, with Vietnamese postcodes on some developer pages, and references to Chinese telecoms in the code of some actual apps.

It's also not clear if the apps have any more nefarious purpose than simply generating ad revenue, but the researchers warned that even if that was their main focus, the apps would provide an inferior experience to the one's they'd been copied from and should be deleted anyway.

The full list of apps below.

  • Glitch Effect Video, Photo Editor Grainy Effect
  • Mod for Minecraft, Mods For Minecraft Animals 2019
  • Voice Changer, Voice Recorder Editor With Effects
  • Sketch Photo Editor And Pencil Sketch Art
  • Horoscope 2019 With 12 Zodiac Sign Master
  • Face Makeup Camera & Beauty Photo Makeup Editor
  • Video Editor With Music App, Video Maker Of Photo
  • Call Recorder Automatic, Call Recording 2 Ways
  • Screen Recorder With Facecam & Audio, Video Editor
  • Nucie Cam: Beauty Selfie Camera With Photo Editor
  • PDF Scanner Camera Scanner: JPG To PDF Converter
  • App Locker Fingerprint, PIN And Gallery Locker
  • Photo Collage Maker And Picture Grid Art Frame
  • Metronome And Tuner For Instrument
  • Relax Sound Sleep Music And Soothing Sounds
  • Cut And Paste Photo Editor With Background Eraser
  • Screen Recorder With Audio And Facecam, Screenshot
  • App Locker With Password Fingerprint, Lock Gallery
  • Video Maker With Music Photos, Video Effects App
  • Photo Collage Maker And Picture Grid, Photo Layout
  • Video Editor, Video Maker With Music Photos & Text
  • Video Editor With Music And Effects & Video Maker
  • Cut And Paste Photo Editor To Change Background
  • Screen Recorder, Game Recorder With Facecam, Audio
  • JPG To PDF Converter With Camera Scanner To PDF
  • Bubble Level Ruler With Inclinometer Free
  • RAR File Extractor And ZIP Opener, ZIP RAR Creator
  • Automatic Call Recorder Incoming And Outgoing App
  • App Locker With Password, Photo Gallery Locker
  • Colour Call Screen Themes With Flash On Call
  • Glitch Effect Video Editor And VHS Effect Photo
  • Internet Browser Private To Download Videos HD
  • Dual Account Double Space, Multi Account App
  • Alarm Pill Reminder, Medical Reminder And Tracker
  • Pixel Art Colour By Number & Sandbox Colouring Game
  • Period Tracker, Menstruation & Ovulation Calendar
  • Call Screen Themes With Flashlight On Call
  • App Locker Fingerprint & Password, Gallery Locker
  • Video Player All Format 2019 With Media Player App
  • Photo Collage Maker And Photo Grid 2019 New
  • Video Editor Of Photos, Video Recorder With Music
  • MP3 Music Player, MP3 Cutter Ringtones Maker
  • Beauty Camera, Makeup Photo Editor And Makeover
  • PIP Photo Editor With PIP Camera Photo Maker 2019
  • School Hairstyles Step By Step, Braiding Hairstyle
  • Pixel Art Color By Number 2019 & Sandbox Colouring
  • Jigsaw Puzzles For Adults And Picture Puzzles
  • Flower Drawing Step By Step With Mandala Colouring
  • Photo Editor With Square Blur Pic, Slim Body
  • Vlog Editor And Video Maker With Music Photos
  • Battery Charger With Battery Saver And Optimiser
  • Memory Booster And Cleaner With Ram Optimiser
  • Volume Booster and Equaliser, MP3 Music Player
  • Phone Cooler Master And CPU Cooling 2020
  • Kiwi VPN Connection For IP Changer, Unblock Sites
  • Volume Booster & Sound Enhancer Music Player
  • Cooler Master CPU Cooling, Free Phone Cooler
  • Antivirus Cleaner Mobile Security & App Locker
  • Internet Speed Test metre And Wi-Fi Test Speed
  • Perfect VPN Proxy To Unblock Sites With IP Changer
  • Data Saver And Data Manager To Control Data Usage
  • GoFox - Incognito Browser And Private Web Browser
  • Running Tracker With Step Counter And Calories
  • Buttocks Workout: 30 Day Workout & Diet Challenge
  • Automatic Call Recorder Both Sides To Record Calls
  • App Locker With Password Fingerprint, Lock Pattern
  • Volume Booster Music Player And Sound Booster
  • QR code Scanner & Barcode Reader, Product Checker
  • Assistive Touch: Easy Touch With Control Center
  • Voice Recorder And Editor With Cut Recorded Audio
  • Video Slide show With Music And Photos, Video Maker
  • Beauty Camera Makeup Face Selfie, Photo Editor
  • Cut Photo Editor Background Changer, Photo Filters
  • Vintage Camera With Photo Editor Filters & Effect
  • Screen Recorder With Facecam & Screenshot Capture
  • Video Editor, Video Maker With Music Photos & Text
  • Makeup Camera and Beauty Makeover Photo Editor
  • Pixel Art Color By Number & Sandbox Colouring Pages
  • CPU Phone Cooler To Cool Down Phone Temperature
  • UltraShark VPN - Free Proxy Server & Secure VPN
  • Caller Screen Themes With Color Call Flash Screen
  • Video Maker: Video Editor With Music And Slideshow
  • Math Solver With Steps & Graphing Calculator
  • Emoji Keyboard Themes & Color Fancy Keyboard
  • Slow Motion Video Editor & Fast Speed Video Maker
  • Graphing Calculator And Equation Solver Calculator
  • App Locker With Password Fingerprint, Photo Locker
  • Video Maker Of Photos & Effects, Slow Motion Video
  • Video Creator With Music & Video Maker Of Photos
  • Math Solver Camera With Equation Calculator
  • Mods For MCPE, Maps For Minecraft PE Free
  • Automatic Call Recorder Incoming And Outgoing Call
  • Fake Caller With Prank Calling & Call Simulator
  • Builder For Minecraft With Minecraft House
  • 30 Day Challenge Workouts For Women, Weight Loss
  • RAR File Extractor And ZIP Opener, File Compressor
  • Screen Recorder With Audio And Facecam & Editor
  • Video Maker: Video Creator With Music And Photos
  • Makeup Photo Editor With Auto Makeup Camera
  • File Transfer To Another Phone And Share Anything
  • Voice Recorder Editor And HD Audio Recording

Originally published as Why you need to delete these apps