The app store issues Google Play Store They seem to have no end. For every solution given by the Internet giant's tool repository, a Machiavellian mind elucidates a new method to steal personal data or money from unsuspecting users. There are applications that hide covert advertising and which the user accesses without realizing it; applications that demand permissions that shouldn't be like the flashlights that they ask for, please take a look at your personal messages; and others even more sophisticated and, what is worse, new, like the ones we bring you today.
Robberies of large amounts of money for simple apps
The security expert company SophosLab has just discovered a new batch of applications in the Play Store whose sole purpose, it seems, is to charge users large amounts of money for utilities that can already make very cheap or directly free applications, such as QR code scanners or simple school calculators.
Cybercriminals take advantage of the payment system within the applications (or in-app payment) that occurs at a given trial period. Play Store applications usually work like this: the downloads are free, then you have a basic tool package and a premium package that you can access by paying or testing for a certain period of time for free. At the end of the trial period, the user you can uninstall the application, communicating in this way that you do not want to continue using it and avoiding additional charges.
This is how the new app subscription hoax works
The deception works this way: when they open the application, the user is invited to try it for a very short period of time, about three days. The user must enter a payment method within the app before they can even use it for the first time. The user does not realize that, in order not to be charged the following month, they must expressly inform him, it is not enough to uninstall it. In the case of a simple application to make GIFs, a user was charged 215 euros after the three-day trial period. An amount, as we see, completely exorbitant, more taking into account that the utility offered can be obtained by other means for free, even with Google's own applications.
These applications already have more than 20 million downloads in the Android Play Store. They do not contain viruses, that is not the problem. Its ‘strategy’ is to violate and take advantage of the subscription conditions of the applications. Because this is a new fraudulent mechanism that has just appeared, the company SophosLab has decided to call these apps ‘Fleeceware’ (from ‘Fleece’, shearing, stripping) because they charge too much, and without warning, for free utilities in many other cases.
Once Google was notified of this new method of theft ‘Fleeceware’ in its store, it began removing some of the applications that carried it out. Total, 14 of 15 were withdrawn, discovering, later, nine more applications with a similar behavior, which are still available for download today
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