We have reported about a previously “trusted” barcode scanner that has suddenly become a malware carrier after an update. Unfortunately, though, the original Barcode Scanner, developed by ZXing has apparently been mistaken for that app and is now receiving a lot of 1-star reviews. While there are those defending the app by giving 5-star reviews to counter the negative publicity, it may still affect the app’s credibility for those who don’t know any better just because it is similarly named to the now-malware pushing app.
The ironic thing though is that ZXing’s Barcode Scanner is one of the first Android apps in the market, even predating the original release of Android according to The Verge. It has been downloaded by around 100 million users and has probably never received this kind of complaints before. It hasn’t been updated for years since it’s open sourced and its co-creator Sean Owen says there’s no motive for a 13-year old app to suddenly trick users into installing malware.
The confusion seems to have come from another barcode scanner app called Barcode Scanner, but developed by a company called Lavabird. This is the malware-spewing app reported earlier that saw its users suddenly be inundated with third-party apps after a recent update. At first some thought it might have been hacked but if you investigate the developer further, it does seem to be a pretty hokey one based in Ukraine.
Since the Lavabird app has already been suspended from the Google Play Store, those who were probably “victimized” by malware may have searched for Barcode Scanner and found the original one from ZXing and left the reviews there for the other app. MalwareBytes, which first reported about the malware app, updated their report to clear up the confusion that the app they identified was from Lavabird and not ZXing.
If you’re brave enough to download the original Barcode Scanner, you’ll see that it is working as it is and no third-party ads or malware will invade your phone. Let’s see if the negative 1-star reviews will affect it although right now it’s still at 4-stars.