Android phone users are being told to delete 15 apps from their phones or risk facing a major data breach.
The apps, which have been removed from the Google Play store over privacy concerns, could still be installed on more than a million devices.
Experts at security software and hardware company, Sophos, have highlighted the programmes that should be deleted, explaining that they contain malicious software. Some of the apps work by disguising themselves as system tools, while others act as an irritant by filling the screen up with adverts.
What are the dangerous apps?
• Flash On Calls & Messages• Read QR Code• Imagine Magic• Generate Elves• Savexpense• QR Artifact• Find Your Phone : Whistle• Scavenger - - - speed guard• Auto Cut Out Pro• Background Cut Out• Photo Background• ImageProcessing• Background Cut Out New• Auto Cut Out
Some of the apps can be very difficult to get rid of, as they display error messages and direct users to pages for other apps, leading you to believe the other apps are responsible for the crash.
Some hide their own icons on the phone home screens as well, making uninstalling them tricky.
How do you get rid of the apps?
A spokesperson for Sophos advised Android phone owners how to get rid of the apps.
“If you suspect that an app you recently installed is hiding its icon in the app tray, tap Settings (the gear menu) and then Apps & Notifications," principal researcher Andrew Brandt told TechRadar.
"The most recently opened apps appear in a list at the top of this page.
"If any of those apps use the generic Android icon (which looks like a little greenish-blue Android silhouette) and have generic-sounding names (‘Back Up,’ ‘Update,’ ‘Time Zone Service’) tap the generic icon and then tap ‘Force Stop’ followed by ‘Uninstall.’
"A real system app will have a button named ‘Disable’ instead of ‘Uninstall’ and you don’t need to bother disabling it."