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Google Play store, which prides itself as the biggest and amazing app ecosystem for mobiles, but lately it has become a cesspool riddled with fake imitating apps. In the past one month, the company has removed thousands of apps over fraudulent behaviour and now another malicious QR (Quick Response) & barcode reader app has joined the list.

Lukas Stefanko, a renowned malware researcher at ESET has posted a message on Twitter that an app dubbed as 'Smart Scan- QR & Bar Scanner Free' with a whopping 5 million install has been found to be adware.

Up until December first week, it was reportedly working as any common QR & barcode readers, but after getting an update, it became full-on adware blasting nagging ads on the home screen of Android phones. Taking cognisance of the issue, Google has taken down the mischievous app from the Play store with immediate effect.

Google, adware,Lukas Stefanko, Play store, QR reader, barcode reader
Google removes popular QR & Barcode reader from Play storeLukas Stefanko/Twitter (screen-grab)

If anybody has installed the aforementioned app on their Android phone, they are advised to uninstall it. Also, for future safety purpose, turn on the Google Play Protect feature. Once enabled, it will detect any unauthorised activity performed by apps without user consent and if found it will warn users to uninstall the app.

Go to Google Play >> Select Play Protect >> enable both – option 1: Scan device for security threat and option 2: Improve harmful app detection

Google Play, malicious apps, how to protect Android phone
How to enable Play Protect on Google Play storeKVN Rohit/IBTimes India

Recently, Google detected millions of fake reviews and also thousands of bad apps masquerading to of utility service had turned to adware. The company immediately removed from the Play store.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Google took down two popular apps—CM File manager and Kika keyboard—made by Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech, respectively for involvement in ad fraud.