Author Topic: Google removed Many Android apps from Play Store for promising social followers  (Read 394 times)

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Following a report from Slovakian security firm ESET, Google has removed several Android apps from the Play Store that promised to deliver a boost in social media followers.
According to ESET, these apps were nothing but fakes that didn't do anything else than collect data on users, show ads, and subscribe them to premium services.

Most apps were promising to deliver social media followers, using specially concocted app names and luring descriptions. Between 500,000 and 1 million users had fallen for their tricks, and installed the applications on their devices.

None of the apps had any functionality
In reality, none of the apps delivered any kind of functionality, except malicious actions. ESET says the apps first started by collecting the user's phone number.

They then asked him to select his type of device and the number of social media followers he wanted to gain.

After this, the app entered in a process called "human verification," which was nothing but a covert method of showing an endless set of ads.

"Verification" process never ended
During the same verification process, the apps also found various ways to collect other kind of information such as the victim's name, email address, home address, date of birth, and gender.

Additionally, users were also prompted with popups to accept terms of service or other conditions. In reality, users were consenting to receive telesales calls and text messages from premium services, which usually came at a very high cost of a few Euros per week.

"In fact, this 'verification step' is an endless spiral," ESET's Lukas Stefanko explains. "The only purpose of all those surveys, ads, offers, rewards, prizes, gift coupons and other cheap marketing tricks is to milk as much information and money from 'follower-hungry' users as possible."

ESET says that future apps that will exhibit a similar behavior will be classified and marked as Android/Fasurke malware.



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