Yes, there really are fake apps out there masquerading as the real deal.
They can be used to implant trojans onto your device that can, for instance, be used to steal banking credentials, spyware and adware.
Last year, two new types of mobile malware were found that planted adware and spyware:
- LevelDropper – discovered in the Google Play Store it first rooted devices and then went on to install applications on the victim’s device such as adware and malicious spyware.
- Shedun – masqueraded as legitimate apps such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp and then planted adware
How to spot the fakes
A recent article on Bullguard.com offers some handy tips on how you can spot fake apps:
Many fake apps are clones of popular established apps. If in doubt as to the legitimacy of an app you are about to download back pedal a little bit and do a bit of research.
Read reviews about the app. If they are short and a bit bland it could well be a scam. Also look out for reviews from users who have been duped; they’ll let you know in no uncertain terms if it’s a scam.
However, also keep in mind that an app with few reviews or few downloads might be from a developer who is just starting out.
To establish a developer’s legitimacy see if they have a website. If they are genuine they will likely have website that showcases their apps.
You can also check the app details. If it’s genuine it will likely be well designed with lots of clear instructions. If it’s a scam its likely to be poorly designed so much so it could be actually quite jarring.
Here at MPMIT, we recommend you use BullGuard to protect your devices.