Google removes malicious apps pretending to be cryptocurrency cloud mining platforms from the Play Store

According to a report by cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, Google removed eight malicious mobile apps masquerading as cryptocurrency cloud mining apps from the Play Store.

The company has discovered eight malicious apps disguised as cloud-based cryptocurrency mining apps intended to trick users.

“Due to an increasing number of people interested in learning more about cryptocurrency mining, cybercriminals are actively exploiting people’s interest not only by deploying cryptocurrency mining malware, but by creating bogus Android apps that target those interested in virtual coins, ”the company said. in a blog post.

“We recently discovered eight deceptive mobile apps that masquerade as cryptocurrency cloud mining apps,” he added.

These malicious apps trick victims into watching ads, paying for subscription services that have an average monthly fee of $ 15, and paying for increased mining capabilities with no returns, according to the report. After the company reported its findings to Google Play, the apps were quickly removed from the Play Store.

These fraudulent applications were BitFunds – Crypto Cloud Mining, Bitcoin Miner – Cloud Mining, Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet, Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining, Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System.

Bitcoin 2021, MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & BTC and Ethereum (ETH) Miner – Pool Mining Cloud.

Two of them were paid apps requiring users to purchase it. This was Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining which cost $ 12.99 to download, while Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System was priced at $ 5.99.

Fake apps

The company also found “related apps” similar to such apps when searching for the keywords “cloud mining” on Google Play. Some of these apps have even been downloaded over 100,000 times.

“Based on data from Trend Micro Mobile App Reputation Service (MARS), over 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still available online. These apps, which lack cryptocurrency mining capabilities and entice users to watch embedded ads, 4,500 users worldwide from July 2020 to July 2021, ”he said.

According to his analysis of the eight malicious apps, these apps exhibited no cryptocurrency mining behavior. The fake mining activity on the user interface (UI) of the applications was carried out via a local mining simulation module which consisted of a counter and a few random functions.

While not related to cloud mining operations or cryptocurrency mining features, some of these apps have tricked users into paying for increased cryptocurrency mining capabilities. via the integrated billing systems of the applications. These payments ranged from $ 14.99 to $ 189.99.

For example, one such app called Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System made users upgrade their crypto mining ability by ‘buying’ their favorite mining machines to earn more coins at a faster rate.

Some of these scam apps are listed in the Finance category of the Play Store and are described as cloud mining apps on the app view pages.

However, according to the terms of use of one of these apps, this is only a game that has no cryptocurrency mining functionality without an obligation to issue cryptocurrency payments. to its users. The app also does not guarantee the return of virtual goods and features purchased in the app.

Trend Micro also discovered that some of these bogus cryptocurrency mining apps trick users into clicking ads instead of paying for increased computing power.

“Unfortunately, even if users browse the in-app ads, they won’t get any income. Users are encouraged to invite multiple friends to download the app to unlock the checkout interface,” he said. Explain.

Users were also asked to invite friends to unlock the checkout interface. Once users were able to invite friends and open the withdrawal interface, they would no longer withdraw the cryptocurrency from the app. This functionality would still be pending.

To avoid such incidents, users can install and operate security solutions that notify them when they encounter fraudulent applications.

About Catherine Wilson

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