Malicious Adware Found in Barcode Scanner App

John Doherty on February 12, 2021

Barcode Scanner app infects 10 million users

A recent report by antivirus provider Malwarebytes has found that an update to an app named Barcode Scanner has potentially infected some 10 million users’ Android phones with malicious adware.

Barcode Scanner is a free app created by relatively unknown developers Lavabird. It has been downloaded over 10 million times from the Google Play Store. But unwary users were in for a nasty surprise after a December 2020 update allowed annoying adverts to pop-up into users’ default browsers.

After a slew of complaints from angry users the app has been removed from the Google Play store. However, the developers Lavabird have yet to explain why their app update contained malicious code. In an especially concerning development the Malwarebytes report added that “the added code used heavy obfuscation to avoid detection”.

Numerous users of Barcode Scanner have had the app for some time with no problem but following the latest update this previously benign app became malware.

Victims of the adware say that the malicious pop-ups continued to appear even after trying a factory reset on their phone. Uninstalling the Barcode Scanner app does remove the adware but make sure you do this yourself as the Google Play Store removal function is not sufficient.

What Alternatives are there to Barcode Scanner?

Orca Scan is a great, safe alternative to Barcode Scanner, trusted by more than 20,000 organisations, including GSK, Lyft and Volvo, in over 120 countries.

Orca Scan lets you track anything with a barcode using a smartphone or a hardware scanner – giving your entire workforce quick and easy access to back-office data using any device.

You can download Orca Scan for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store - it comes with a free tier, capped at 50 rows of data and one Cloud sheet which is usually enough for small projects. For larger projects you can unlock more storage by upgrading to one of our pay monthly palns.

Happy scanning 👋

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