Security researchers have discovered more than 30 fake applications available for download on the Google Play Store. The malicious applications, which pretended to be cheats for the popular world-building-with-pixels game, have been installed by more than 600,000 Android users. All of the discovered apps were fakes and did not contain any of the promised functionality. The displayed banners tried to trick users to believe that their Android system is infected with a “dangerous virus”. In a classic scareware technique, users were then directed to remove these non-existent viruses by activating a premium rate SMS subscription that would cost them 4.80 EUR per week. All of the identified scareware apps behaved in a similar way. The only differences lie in the names and icons of the applications. They were uploaded to the Play store by different developer accounts, but according to security experts, these apps were created by one person. Despite receiving poor user reviews and negative comments, the total number of installations of all 33 scareware applications lies between a staggering 660,000 and 2.8 million.
Mauritian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU)
National Computer Board
7th Floor, Stratton Court
La Poudriere Street