In an announcement, the security giant said its software flagged the Google Quick Search Box app launcher as malware by mistake.
The Avast SDK powers the Huawei Optimizer app, conceding that "its antivirus Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android was incorrectly flagging the Google Quick Search Box as malware on Huawei phones. This SDK delivers the antivirus component of Huawei's Optimizer app."
The issue was only seen on Huawei devices outside of China, as well as a "small number" of Honor and Vivo devices, the company said, adding that, "A fix was implemented on October 30th which fully resolved the issue."
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused," Avast added.
On October 29th, it was reported to Avast that its antivirus Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android was incorrectly flagging the Google Quick Search Box as malware on Huawei phones. This SDK delivers the antivirus component of Huawei’s Optimizer app, a device management application that also provides clean-up and performance features.
Users had flocked to forums and social media platforms to report a number of Chinese-built smartphones displaying a strange warning claiming that the Google Android app is malicious and should be immediately deleted.
Reports have claimed some Huawei, Honor, and Vivo smartphones and tablets are all displaying a “security threat” alert, detecting the Google app as “TrojanSMS-PA”.
The details for the warning elaborated that the app is secretly sending SMS messages and could cause material damage to the user: "This app was detected sending SMS privately, enticing users to pay with adult content, downloading/installing apps privately, or stealing private information, which may cause property damage and privacy leakage," the warning read. "We recommend uninstalling it immediately."
Google quickly responded, saying it had nothing to do with the warnings and that the users should discuss the issue with the affected device vendors.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.