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Fleeceware apps in Google Play scamming Android users, Avast names 7 apps users should delete immediately

Fleeceware applications, posing as Minecraft mods, are scamming unsuspecting users of thousands of rupees every month.

Sushant Talwar | November 11, 2020 | Updated 16:18 IST

Highlights

  • Avast has flagged 7 new Fleeceware apps.
  • These include apps targeting games like Minecraft.
  • Fleeceware applications attempt to dupe users of their money by offering new skins, wallpapers

Google's Android OS is the choice of hundreds of millions of smartphone users across the globe. While there are multiple reasons behind its popularity, the biggest, however, is arguably the platform's huge repository of applications, Google Play. This app store offers a wide variety of applications to choose from, of which some have now been found to be duping users of their money.

Digital security giant, Avast, has identified a wave of malicious mobile applications in Google Play that target gamers, particularly fans of the popular video game Minecraft. These so-called Fleeceware applications attempt to dupe users of their money by offering new skins, colorful wallpapers, or modifications for the game, but by disproportionately charging users every month.

In its findings, Avast has found seven of them to be particularly troublesome and has even reported these apps to Google. Termed as Fleeceware, this category of apps usually offer users an "attractive service for a short free trial period of three days. After that, the application automatically and subtly begins charging excessive costs, up to $30 per week."

Avast explains that fraudsters expect the user to forget about the installed application and its short trial, or fail to notice the real subscription cost associated with it. It also adds that these apps generally have many 1 or 5 star reviews but nothing in the middle, with a low star rating overall.

"Scams of this nature take advantage of those who don't always read the fine print details of every app they download. In this case, young children are particularly at risk because they may think they are innocently downloading a Minecraft accessory, but not understand or may not pay attention to the details of the service to which they are subscribing," noted Ondrej David, malware analysis team lead at Avast. "We urge our customers to remain vigilant when downloading any app from unknown developers and to always carefully research user reviews and billing agreements before subscribing."

Avast claims that some of these apps have already been downloaded over a million times by users, and recommends not only uninstalling them but also canceling any related subscription directly in the Play Store to ensure the protection of your data and hard-earned money.

Avast's list of Fleeceware apps

  • Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft PE
  • Skins for Roblox
  • Live Wallpapers HD & 3D Background
  • MasterCraft for Minecraft
  • Master for Minecraft
  • Boys and Girls Skins
  • Maps Skins and Mods for Minecraft

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