Scam Alarm: these 84 applications that steal your money without mercy on your phone

Some apps available in the App Store may steal money from you. And yes, these applications are smart, offer subscriptions and suddenly increase prices without notice. But it’s too late. You have been charged and the companies behind these creations make millions every year. Although these scams were reported in March 2021, the majority of those applications are still available.

133 applications designated in 2021

In March 2021, antivirus publisher Avast unveiled the list of 133 applications available on the App Store that abuse the subscription system to charge consumers unreasonable amounts. Unfortunately, several months after highlighting these irregularities, the vast majority of applications are still available. This is what the VPNCheck page reports to us today. 84 applications out of the 133 identified in 2021 are still on the App Store, in July 2022. That equates to a total of 500 million downloads, and a turnover amounting to $ 365 million.

How do these applications, called Fleeceware by researchers, work? It’s simple and it’s always the same. You download the app. A subscription, generally very accessible, is offered to you. But this price is not inevitable. It is changing rapidly and rising markedly from the following month. But you were not warned. You can cancel the subscription, but it is already too late, the payment of the month has been made. Thanks to this, it is a lot of money that these applications manage to generate. We’re talking about $ 8.6 million every year.

These applications have no malicious code!

This information is important because it is easy to detect fraud in the App Store thanks to the malicious code in those applications. But in this specific case, the applications do not have one. On the other hand, it is not difficult to recognize an application solely on the basis of the comments it receives. In fact, users can rate applications (from one to five stars). VPNCheck therefore indicates that the reviews give a real indication:

The disturbing ease with which these apps can be identified, with only public information, is borderline ridiculous. Just read some one-star reviews in the app store. We do not doubt for a moment that Apple will do what is necessary in the long run to solve the problem. But they have every interest in ticking the clock”.

Android phones also affected

If Android phones have made headlines, it’s for a similar scam scheme. It is the Joker software that allows certain applications to steal money. The cybersecurity firm Padreo decided to investigate the matter. And the latter proved to be successful. In fact, four applications available in the Google Play Store (the store where Android phone applications are located) are infected with the Joker software. How does this software work? It’s simple, it steals users’ private information and money. However, they are more than 100,000 to worry about.

Stealing money, nothing could be easier. He created a system of hidden subscriptions. Users are taken unconsciously. Or at least they know it as soon as the test has taken place. It’s as simple as it is effective. Padreo informs us that an affected application was used to read one-time passwords or access keys received by users via SMS. These are essential for accessing certain services. The application took a silent screenshot and therefore had access to private passwords.

Joker also allows other applications to be installed on the phone (in the background). The latter, however, is infected by software that is sometimes even more powerful and malicious. This time, it’s scams delivered directly to the phone, with targeted ads for offers that are too good to be true. The user is asked to enter personal information.

It is important to be careful and not think that you are safe on your phone. Remember to see the reviews of the apps you download.

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