Relying on a report published by Trend Micro, Google has removed eight fake cryptocurrency mining apps from the play store.
Trend Micro in their blogpost said, “Due to an increased number of people who are not interested in learning about mining cryptocurrency, cybercriminals are actively exploiting people’s interest. They are not just deploying cryptocurrency mining malware, but by creating fake Android apps to target interested ones in virtual coins as well.”
Some of these fraudulent apps are listed under the Play Store’s finance category and are described as cloud mining applications on applications’ display pages.
How do these apps work?
The company in their blog post mentioned the working of these apps. These apps trick victims into watching ads, paying for subscription services. They have an average monthly fee of $15 and paying for increased mining capabilities without any returns.
Trend Micro also found that some of these fake crypto mining applications prompted the user to click on ads instead of paying for increased computing power.
The applications also prompt users to invite several friends to download the app to unlock the withdrawal interface. However, even if the users click on the advertisements, or invite multiple friends, they do not gain any revenue.
These fraudulent apps 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 miner and Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud.
Thousands of Downloads
Trend Micro also found “concerning applications” similar to such apps upon searching the keywords “cloud mining” on Google Play Store. Some of these apps have been downloaded more than 100,000 times. More than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still available online.
These apps, which do not have cryptocurrency mining capabilities, trick users into watching in-app ads. They have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021.
The apps show fake mining activity on the user interface (UI) by using a local mining stimulation module which consisted of a counter and some random functions.
As per the terms of these apps, they are only a game and do not have any cryptocurrency-mining functionality with no obligation to issue cryptocurrency payments to its users. The app also fails to guarantee returns for any virtual goods and features purchased in the app. However, some of these fraudulent apps appear in the Play Store’s finance category, described as cloud mining applications on the applications’ display pages.
To avoid such incidents, users can install and leverage security solutions that warn them when they encounter fraudulent applications.