Fake apps are getting the boot from Google Play and Amazon’s app store, but not before they are quickly used by the Android community. This time, five apps were removed after FireEye discovered that they were nothing but placebos.
The security researchers, Jinjian Zhai, Jimmy Su and Humayun Ajmal, said some of the apps were actually paid versions outside of the US whereas US consumers could theoretically download a free version and then pay for non-existent in-app services.
Written easily by a thieving developer with just a few hundred lines of code then covered with a facade of images and progress bars, the seemingly useful apps for Android’s operating environment charge for installation and upgrade but do nothing. In other words, placebo applications. Fortunately all the applications have been removed from the Google Play store due to our discovery.
The applications included:
Anti-Hacker PLUS (com.minaadib.antihackerplus) Price $3.99
JU AntiVirus Pro (com.minaadib.juantiviruspro) Price $2.99
Anti-Hacker (com.minaadib.antihacker) Free
Me Web Secure (com.minaadib.mewebsecurefree) Free
Me Web Secure Pro (com.minaadib.mewebsecure) Price $1.99
According to FireEye, some of the apps were downloaded as much as 50,000 times. This is not the first time security apps have been removed, as consumer concerns over Android operating systems ensures that cybercriminals are preying on fears by offering nothing in return for delivering safety “placebo” apps.