Dangerous rip-off apps that have been banned by Google for embezzling user money – but experts warn that they are about to be replaced.
Many people imitate regular apps to deceive, but they are full of Trojans who secretly launch a paid subscription.
The bad joke bug could hide behind Google’s security identification.
It is available in three apps: Style Message, Blood Pressure App and Camera PDF Scanner.
However, well-known brands and names are also imitated to gain confidence.
This includes apps like GameBeyond, Tubemate, Minecraft, GTA5 and Vidmate.
“Although Trojanized apps are being removed from the store every day, it is constantly being replaced by new ones,” said Igor Golovin of Kaspersky.
“Most apps have no valid functionality.
“They start subscribing right after launch when users see a loading window.
“They usually pay for legitimate services on behalf of a user and the scammers deduct one of the charges.
“Such subscription fees are usually deducted from the phone balance.”
Experts say that the cyber crooks do the trick by downloading the original app, adding malicious code to it before re-uploading it to the store under another name.
Once on your phone, the app will request access to text messages or notifications so that it can prevent verification codes from secretly starting subscriptions.
Data suggest that Zacchaeus’ victims are mainly in Saudi Arabia (21.20%), followed by Poland (8.98%) and Germany (6.01%).
Cyber security experts warn against downloading apps from unofficial sources to protect themselves, but also warn against being “cautious” when installing apps from Google Play.
“Read reviews, learn about developers, terms of service and payments,” advises Golovin.
“For messaging, choose a well-known app with positive reviews.
“Even if you trust an app, don’t allow it too much.
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“Allow only those apps to have access to the notifications that it needs to fulfill its purpose – for example, pushing notifications on wearable devices.
“Apps for themes like wallpaper or photo editing do not require access to your notifications.”