Android users remain subject to numerous malware threats. Criminals continue to target cryptocurrency users at every possible opportunity. A new batch of fake crypto apps has been identified on Google Play Store. Unsurprisingly, they all mask as legitimate wallets, despite having a more nefarious purpose.
New Google Play Store Threats Arise
For cryptocurrency users, mobile applications are a blessing and a curse. The added convenience is something many people tend to enjoy. At the same time, no mobile app can be taken at face value these days. This appears to be especially true where Google Play Store applications are concerned. Four new malicious applications have been identified by researchers this week.
All of the applications try to mimic legitimate altcoin wallet solutions. Two of the fake offerings purposefully target NEO users. One other is designed to defraud Tether’s USDT users. All of them have been installed several dozen times, which is incredibly worrying. While Google has removed the apps from the Play Store since then, it is another example of how easy it is to submit malicious crypto offerings.
The main purpose behind these wallets can be split into two camps. Either the criminals want to phish for information, such as login credentials or private keys. Another option is how thieves want to directly steal the cryptocurrency through a fake wallet offering. In the latter case, withdrawing funds from an in-wallet address becomes impossible.
The Emerging Trend Continues
This new incident joins a growing list of Android-related issues. Criminals have submitted fake Google Play Store apps for several months now. In all cases, they slip through Google’s security checks, for reasons unknown. Especially wallet applications prove particularly harmful in this department. It is difficult to distinguish a fake offering from the real deal under the circumstances.
The most worrisome aspect is how these applications become easier to create. Researchers confirm these four fake wallets are built using AppyBuilder. Its drag-and-drop interface lets anyone put together an Android application without coding knowledge. This creates many opportunities for criminals to explore. Storing cryptocurrency on mobile is slowly becoming a major security risk if this trend keeps up.
Cryptocurrency users remain a prime target for criminals. Despite falling prices, interest in Bitcoin and altcoins remains rather high. This also means a lot of new people are introduced to mobile wallet solutions. As Android remains the most popular mobile operating system, criminals have their targets for the picking. Especially if their app makes it to the Play Store without problems.
Have you been fooled into downloading one of these fake crypto apps before? What can / should Google be doing to combat this disturbing trend? Let us know in the comments below.
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