Google’s app store is eight apps lighter today after a number of misleading crypto apps were ejected from the platform.
A handful of illicit apps were removed and banned from Google’s Play Store after they were determined to be misleading users. According to the security research firm, Trend Micro, more than 120 similar apps are still available on Google’s app store.
In total, eight apps were identified by Google as dangerous. Specifically, users were lured into investing in what they were told to be cloud mining services, according to Business Insider India.
Business Insider cites a report from Trend Micro as a source who said:
“Despite these apps not being associated with cloud-mining operations or having any cryptocurrency-mining features, some of these apps prompt users to pay for increased cryptocurrency-mining capabilities via the apps’ in-app billing systems that range from $14.99 to as high as $189.99.”
According to the study by Trend Micro, the apps that were banned each operated in the same way. Users were forced to watch video ads to supposedly mine cryptocurrency and had to pay $15 a month for the service. The apps also offered the ability to pay more in order to buy a crypto mining rig to earn more rewards.
The eight apps which Trend Micro uncovered are Bitfunds, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin (BTC), Crypto Holic, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Bitcoin 2021, MineBitPro, and Ethereum (ETH).
Trend Micro added that two of these apps, Crypto Holic and Daily Bitcoin Rewards, are paid apps that users are required to purchase.
Misleading apps still remain on Google
While the eight apps getting banned is a step in the right direction, the report from Trend Micro reveals they are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the study, if you search “cloud mining” on Google Play, numerous similar apps pop up with some having been downloaded more than 100,000 by unsuspecting users.
Date from Trend Micro says that more than 120 such crypto mining apps are still available on the play store and elsewhere. “These apps, which do not have cryptocurrency mining capabilities and deceive users into watching in-app ads, have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021,” the report adds.
Trend Micro shares a few tips for consumers to recognize and avoid these fake mining apps. The first tip is to read the reviews on the Google Play Store. “Fake apps will receive numerous 5-star reviews once they are released publicly, but don’t be fooled by these as they may be false and paid-for reviews,” Trend Micro suggests. It also says that you should pay attention to the 1-star reviews as they are more likely to come from real users.
Another step to take to check the validity of these apps is to input an incorrect wallet address. The study revealed that most of the malicious apps only process wallets as non*empty values. This means that the app accepts wallet addresses even if they are incorrect.
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