A new research has highlighted a total of eight apps masquerading as cryptocurrency mining apps and duping people of their money, on promises of returns through the mined cryptocurrencies.
Even though the apps have been banned by Google from its app store, those already possessing them on their phones will have to delete these apps manually.
Apps named around cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin (BTC) and others, lured people into spending money on them through promises of big profits in return.
The apps disguised themselves as cryptocurrency mining apps that conducted cloud-mining operations, and some of them even found a listing on Play Store’s finance category.
The apps asked users to invest money into their cloud-mining operations and, in return, promised some portion of the cryptocurrency mining.
The research team at Trend Micro discovered that the apps only tricked victims into spending their money or watching ads but never really conducted any real mining operations for any returns.
The team confirmed that the eight apps “did not have any cryptocurrency-mining behaviour.”
It further explained in a blog post that “the fake mining activity on the apps’ user interface (UI) is carried out via a local mining simulation module that includes a counter and some random functions.”
The apps simply had their users pouring in money through subscription services and features that promised “increased mining capabilities.”
Trend Micro blog suggests that the subscription services went up to the cost of US$15 (Rs 1,100) per month.
The identified fraudulent apps that have now been removed from the Play Store include:
- 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
- Ethereum (ETH) — Pool Mining Cloud
The report mentions that two of these apps, Crypto Holic Bitcoin Cloud Mining and Daily Bitcoin Rewards Cloud Based Mining System, were, in fact, paid apps.
The first one cost US$12.99 (Rs 963) to download, while Daily Bitcoin Rewards Cloud Based Mining System cost US$5.99 (Rs 444).
Other than this, the apps duped users into spending more by prompting them to “upgrade their crypto mining capacity by “buying” their favourite mining machines.”
The apps promised that the machines would then yield more coins at a faster rate.
Some asked users to click on ads in order to pay for increased computing power.
In such cases, the apps informed users that they could start mining after viewing video ads within the app.
Watching more in-app video ads would also allegedly increase the mining speed.
Trend Micro further warned that “more than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still available online.”
These apps do not have any capabilities of cryptocurrency mining and deceive users into watching in-app ads. It shared some tips to spot such apps too.
How to spot fraud crypto mining apps
It states that users should always read the Play Store review, especially the 1-star reviews, for such apps.
This is because the app makers can also have fake and paid-for reviews with a 5-star rating to dupe other users into installing them.
Trend Micro also suggests users to try and enter the wrong cryptocurrency wallet address on these apps. Its research found that such apps do not have a check for the wallet address as they don’t really link to them.
They thus tend to accept an invalid wallet address, too, depicting their fraudulent nature.
A scam app like this can also be identified by restarting the phone during mining.
The report states that“if a device is restarted after mining starts and the mining application is killed in the background, the system will forcibly clear the counter, resetting it to zero.”
A withdrawal fee is also one such tell-sign of these apps.
They tend to charge a handling fee which is relatively higher compared to what is generated through cloud mining.
Original full post on: https://ethones.blogspot.com