Android, do not download those apps

A total of 151 photo editors, camera filters, games and other apps advertised through Instagram and Dictoc channels. All fake or worse. All in the Android Play Store.

151 issues in Google, Play Store (Adobe Stock)

Last week they were reported on the same footing. 80 applications for premium SMS fraud campaign, Which allows victims to subscribe to expensive services, such as withdrawing money from unsuspecting users, withdrawing money from their credit cards, and postpaid.

All applications are a part of Ultima SMS Campaign, Has 151 applications for download on the Google Play Store, has already been downloaded by 10.5 million users and is almost identical in structure and functionality.

Fake processor, the process of extorting money from unfortunate users

Google removes 151 applications from the Play Store. Doubt, is the problem solved?

Copies of the same fake application used to spread the premium SMS fraud campaign. “It makes me believe that there is a bad actor or band behind the whole campaign.” Thus writes blog.avast.com, which reported 80 of the 151 applications in question. “I named this campaign ‘Ultima SMS’ because one of the first applications I discovered was called Ultima Keyboard 3D Pro. Wide range of types such as custom keyboards, QR code scanners, video and photo editors, spam call blockers, camera and game filters ”.

UltimaSMS appears to be a global campaign because, according to Censor Tower, a marketing intelligence and mobile application intelligence company, applications capable of extorting money from Internet users have been downloaded by users in 80 countries, in particular. Middle East: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, but also the United States and Poland.

Avast Tracked the first prototypes of UltimaSMS in May 2021 And new campaign models were released earlier this month, meaning the scam is still going on. A classic process.

When a user installs one of the applications, The application in question verifies its location, IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and phone number and determines which country code and language should be used for fraud. When the user opens the app, a screen in the language in which the device is set up prompts them to enter their phone number and, in some cases, an email address to access the device’s advertised purpose. ‘app.

“The applications found are basically identical in structure – refer to the Avast researchers – the profiles provide attractive photos and descriptions of attractive applications with the highest reviews”. But, on closer inspection, Privacy Statements and key developer profiles are all very common. “They have received a lot of negative reviews from users who correctly identify the apps as scams – Avast concludes – they have fallen for the scam”. Google deleted 151, but who knows how many there might be. So open your eyes and raise your hands: read the information carefully before pushing OK.