Having just blocked nine dangerous apps that were trying to steal Facebook passwords, Google has now banned yet another bunch of popular Android applications from its Play Store with this latest batch targeting those trying to make money via the latest crypto-mining craze. This new type of online currency has boomed in recent years with vast amounts of people trying to join the revolution and make a quick buck. Cryptocurrency mining (AKA – crypto mining) uses the processing power of computers to solve complex mathematical problems that verify cryptocurrency transactions, and the miners are then rewarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency.
The apps that were recently blocked by Google, claimed to offer these money-making mining services in return for a monthly fee.
Once logged in, the user was even presented with an activity dashboard that displayed how well the app was performing and the money being made.
However, it was part of an elaborate scam with the security team at Lookout Threat Lab discovering that – after users paid the subscription – no actual cloud crypto mining ever took place.
A total of 25 applications were removed from Google’s official online marketplace with Lookout warning that more than 100 apps are still available via third-party stores that allow applications to be side-loaded onto devices.
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Based on Lookout’s analysis, it’s thought the criminals have scammed more than 93,000 people and stolen at least $350,000.
That money is split between users paying for apps and buying additional fake upgrades and services. Lookout has now classified these apps into two distinct families that have been named BitScam and CloudScam.
Once told about the issue, Google promptly removed these apps from Google Play.
Top Coins • Mr Bitcoin • Star BTC • Bitcoin Burn • Moon BAT • Bito Holic • Bito Hash • BitHash • Multi Coins • BitcoinCash Miner
Airdrop • Bright Miner • Pink BTC • XMR Miner • COIN Master • ETHMINER PRO • crypto cloud mining pro • Btc Miner pro • Bito Miner • Mining Machine • BTC CLOUD • BTC Cash • Black Crypto • Cloud Mining • Crypto Pro-Miner
“These apps were able to fly under the radar because they don’t actually do anything malicious,” said Ioannis Gasparis, a mobile application security researcher at Lookout. “They are simply shells set up to attract users caught up in the cryptocurrency craze and collect money for services that don’t exist. Purchasing goods or services online always requires a certain degree of trust — these scams prove that cryptocurrency is no exception.”
This latest warning comes after nine more apps were recently removed from the Play Store after they were found to be tricking users into handing over Facebook login details.
Thinking about using cryptocurrency apps? Here’s some advice from Lookout
• Know the developers behind the app. What certificates or credentials do they have, what other apps have they built, does the company have a website and are you able to contact them?
• Install from an official app store . While scams are hard to spot, downloading from an official store reduces your risk of downloading malware.
• Read the terms and conditions. Most of the scam apps either have fake information or don’t have any terms available.
• Use other users’ reviews of the app for your benefit. Reading other users’ experience with the app can be eye-opening when it comes to identifying scams.
• Understand the app’s permissions and activities . Look for red flags in the app’s activities. Is the app asking for permissions that it doesn’t need to function? Does the app crash or reset abruptly, does the cryptocurrency balance get reset abruptly, do the displayed numbers make sense?
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