Hidden Google Play and App Store subscriptions: iPhone and Android users spent over $ 400 million on fraudulent apps

Hidden Google Play and App Store subscriptions: iPhone and Android users spent over $ 400 million on fraudulent apps

Cybersecurity company Avast announced a new finding – more than 200 fraudulent applications with hidden subscriptions or excessive subscription prices were found in the official online stores of applications for Apple mobile devices and smartphones with tablets based on Android, the App Store and Google Play.

Such rogue applications are called Fleeceware. According to experts, this is a relatively new type of fraud. The user is offered to download an interesting application for a free trial period, most often for three days. The app will then automatically charge the disproportionately high subscription fees.

For example, the FortuneScope app will charge $ 66 (approximately RUB 5,000) per week after a short trial period, which will cost the victim $ 3,432 (approximately RUB 300,000) per year if the subscription is not canceled. Removing an app is not enough: you must cancel your subscription in the app store settings. Ads for these apps often appear on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

The fraudulent applications detected have been downloaded more than a billion times in total. To date, they have generated over $ 400 million in revenue. It is noted that scammers earned $ 4.5 million on Russian Apple users, applications were downloaded 23.2 million times. Android users spent $ 400,000 on a subscription, downloading apps 21.6 million times.

Avast threat researcher Jakub Vávra noted that, judging by the advertisements, such fraudulent apps are primarily targeted at children and adolescents, who are offered “free download” or “free install” of the application, and the scammers have time to generate substantial income before parents notice the weekly cash write-offs.

Full lists of such scam apps can be found here:

for Google Play; for the App Store.

Hidden Google Play and App Store subscriptions: iPhone and Android users spent over $ 400 million on fraudulent apps

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