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If you’ve got this barcode scanner installed on your Android phone, uninstall it immediately

This is getting ridiculous.

barcode scanner google play store page
Screenshot: Google Play Store

If you’ve got Barcode Scanner installed on your Android phone, go uninstall it. Google has removed it from the Google Play Store for serving trojanized malware, so you really shouldn’t keep it on your device.

It’s the latest in a series of high-profile apps sold to shady developers, who then proceed to insert everything from advertising to malware. Until very recently, Barcode Scanner was a basic QR code maker and barcode scanner app, with thousands of positive reviews. It was on my Android test device, as it was one of the first results when searching for “QR Scanner.”

After users started seeing browser redirects and other malicious behavior on their Android phones, someone pointed the finger at one common thread, Barcode Scanner. The folks at Malwarebytes verified that the scanner was the issue, saying that the malicious code probably came in an update in December.

The security researchers also say that this is definitely malicious, not just bad code, as they went out of their way to hide the ad injecting code. It wasn’t normal in-app advertising at all, which is a worrying thought.

If apps can be on app stores for years, and get turned into malicious ones without being caught by the anti-malware checks done by the app store owners, is anything we install on our phones safe?

If you have Barcode Scanner installed on your Android devices, remove it now. It may be gone from the Google Play Store but Google won’t remove it automatically.

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