Scams to avoid on Google, Apple, and Android apps in general – Middle East & Gulf News

Hackers are using interest in cryptocurrencies to lure people with promises of earning big profits by investing money in cloud-mining apps. These users end up installing malicious apps on their smartphones containing dangerous malware and adware.

Google Play

As many as 8 dangerous apps have been removed from Google Play Store.

These apps tricked victims into watching ads, paying for subscription services that averaged monthly fees of $15, and for increased mining capabilities without getting anything in return.  

Here’s a list of the 8 malicious apps that Google has removed from the Play Store:

  • BitFunds – Crypto Cloud Mining
  • Bitcoin Miner – Cloud Mining
  • Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet
  • Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining
  • Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System
  • Bitcoin 2021
  • MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & btc miner
  • Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud

Trend Micro, a multinational cyber security software company, reported that more than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still available online and have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021.

To recognize a fake crypto mining app, one should:

1- Pay more attention to 1-star reviews.

2- Enter an invalid or wrong cryptocurrency wallet address. If the app accepts it, there is a high probability that the app is fraudulent.

3- be suspicious of low or no handling fees for the transfer of cryptocurrency.

Apple Store

Apple claims its App Store offers security and safety for users. However, unscrupulous apps continue to slip through the net.

One of the biggest drivers of these scams is the use of fake positive reviews. A common App Store scam is to make a very simple app targeting popular search keywords, attach aggressive subscription pricing to it, and make it rise high in search results by faking hundreds of 5-star App Store reviews.

Scams to avoid on Google, Apple, and Android apps in general - Middle East & Gulf News

These fake apps then push paywall screens on users and invite them to start a subscription plan. Fake apps may offer free trial periods to make the sale look good and are written in reasonably good English. It is possible to see how they could bypass an automatic spam filter algorithm.  

Other Apple Store scams

Customers for several VPN apps, which allegedly protect users’ data, complained in Apple App Store reviews that the apps told users their devices have been infected by a virus to dupe them into downloading and paying for software they don’t need.

In another example, A QR code reader app that remains on the store tricks customers into paying $4.99 a week for a service that is now included in the camera app of the iPhone. Some apps also fraudulently present themselves as being from major brands such as Amazon and Samsung.

Scams to avoid on Google, Apple, and Android apps in general - Middle East & Gulf News

Scams to avoid on Google, Apple, and Android apps in general - Middle East & Gulf News

Among the 1.8 million apps on the App Store, scams are hiding in plain sight. Of the 1,000 highest-grossing apps on the App Store, nearly 2% are scams, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

And those apps have bilked consumers out of an estimated $48 million during the time they’ve been on the App Store, according to market research firm Appfigures.  

Funny enough, Apple profits from these apps because it takes a cut of up to 30% of all revenue generated through the App Store.  

Apple says it is constantly improving its methods for sniffing out scams and usually catches them within a month of when they hit the App Store. In a recent news release, Apple said it employed new tools to verify the authenticity of user reviews and last year kicked 470,000 app developer accounts off the App Store. Developers, however, can create new accounts and continue to distribute new apps.

Apple employs a 500-person App Review team, which sifts through submissions from developers.  

Android

Here are 9 popular but dangerous Android apps that can infect a mobile device, steal important files and passwords, and even bypass two-factor authentication.

1- Music Players

Downloading a new music player can invite unnecessary gaps in the phone’s security for an app it already has and invite trojans.

2- Obscure Browsers

Stick to the well-known browsers backed by companies held accountable by the public eye. Less-known browsers like UC Browser and Dolphin Browser have incorporated terrible tracking and privacy violation practices.

Scams to avoid on Google, Apple, and Android apps in general - Middle East & Gulf News

3- Free VPNs

Free VPNs claim to put the user first, but they often have shady money-making practices, like selling people’s data. Avoid free VPNs like SuperVPN and Pacific VPN.

4- Voice Recorders

There’s no need to dabble with fire by installing an unknown app from a third party. QRecorder is another app that has been found to make use of the AlienBot trojan.

5- Cleaner Apps

While there are legitimate phone “cleaning” apps, most are scams that can do more harm than good. Super Clean by Magical Dev, Cleanit, and Virus Cleaner have all been found to be harmful.

6- Apps that claim to increase RAM

There’s no way to increase a phone’s RAM. Any app that claims differently is definitely malware.  

7- Unknown antivirus programs

Antivirus programs can be beneficial, but the Play Store has been inundated with these apps. Stick to legitimate, well-known antivirus brands.

8- Disk cleaning apps

Phones don’t have hard drives to defragment. The best these apps can do is delete other apps to make more space on the phone’s storage. And that’s something people can do themselves.

9- Lie detector apps

A phone cannot double as a lie detector. Period.