A pair of Android barcode reader apps that were downloaded more than 1 million times were found to contain ad fraud malware that tries to stay hidden by generating advertisements that instantly disappear from view.

The malware, detected as AndroidOS_HiddenAd.HRXJA, can operate in the background even when infected devices aren't actively being used, and it attempts to confuse victims as to the source of the infection by disguising itself as other apps.

In a recent company blog post, Trend Micro mobile threats analyst Jessie Huang names the offending apps as "Barcode Reader" and "QR & Barcode Scanner." (Trend Micro did not reveal the publisher names.) Huang notes that Google removed the apps from the Google Play Store upon being informed of the scam.

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