Throughout 2019, Google has constantly leveled up security to impede malware-linked applications getting into the Android ecosystem. However, in spite of the company’s many efforts, hackers are creating more malicious methods to bypass the firewall.
In the most recent instance, 25 more malicious apps labeled as Fleeceware have been identified in the Google Play Store, thanks to mobile security researchers at SophosLabs. What is more terrifying is the fact that they have a merged installation of 600 million on over 100 million Android mobile phones, and people don’t even know they have one or perhaps two such apps in their devices.
What are Fleeceware Apps?
These applications are typically categorized as benign utility tools for devices, such as photo editor apps, visually attracting keypad with unique emojis, camera apps, and even horoscope prediction apps.
They normally provide free services for a limited time so that the users get a glimpse of features they want to utilize, and if they are not satisfied, they can uninstall them. However, these Fleeceware-linked apps urge users to type in their card details, assuring them that they won’t be charged without their approval.
Even so, these apps slyly enable the auto-renewal option without the user approval, which means that the app has permission to auto-debit the fees per month or per year. After the limited free service ends, it withdraws money out of the users’ bank or credit account. Initially, these Fleeceware apps were known to suck off hundreds of dollars and euros, depending on the area the users are located.
Some sly apps can detect the user wants to remove them and design a fake shortcut that mirrors Google services in the background. It is recommended that users remove these kinds of apps from their devices immediately. Also, before getting down an app, make sure you look for the publisher’s name and see if they have at least five to ten reviews on the Google Play Store.