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Be Careful: Fake Apps Are Stealing Information

By July 28, 2016May 25th, 2021Blog, Cybersecurity

BeXCarefulXFakeXAppsXAreXStealingXInformationSecurity researchers at the firm ESET have recently warned of a total of 8 apps found on the Google Play store. These apps, at first glance, appear to be designed to help users increase their number of followers on various social media platforms, and as such, may have found their way on a variety of your firm’s handheld devices.

Once installed, however, it quickly becomes apparent that these apps are little more than thinly disguised malware. The cycle begins at registration, where the user is required to input a variety of personal information. That completed, the user then finds himself on a treadmill of sorts. An endless cycle of special offers to click through, some of which require yet more personal information, and others, requiring a small subscription fee.

There doesn’t appear to be any end to it. Each time you click your way through a special offer, a new one appears. It seems designed to gather as much information about the user as possible (no doubt for resale later) and to get you on the hook for as many subscriptions as it can before the user gives up and uninstalls the app.

In at least one case, after installation, the app locks the users phone, requiring a reboot in order to regain access. After rebooting, the app will open links to porn sites on the device it’s installed on, and display a variety of unwanted advertising.

This, of course, is a new twist on a fairly old game. Malware and Adware are by no means new, but the fact that these apps made it to the Google Play store masquerading as legitimate apps that serve a useful function indicates a new level of sophistication in the technique.

Google has since removed the apps from their store, but they can still be found in other online App repositories, underscoring the importance of only acquiring new apps from trusted vendors, and checking the number of installs and user reviews before committing to an installation yourself.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.