Google Removed 8 Fake Cryptocurrency Mining Apps From Play Store

Cybersecurity company Trend Micro has detected more than 120 deceptive cryptocurrency mining apps online. Some of them were found on the Google Play Store, which Google quickly removed. However, there are still “numerous concerning applications of the same type” in the store, and “some of these applications have even been downloaded more than 100,000 times”.

Trend Micro has detected more than 120 deceptive cryptocurrency mining apps

Multinational cybersecurity software company Trend Micro published a report on Wednesday warning of deceptive cloud cryptocurrency mining apps tricking victims into viewing ads and paying for subscription services. The firm wrote:

We recently discovered eight deceptive mobile apps that masquerade as cryptocurrency cloud mining applications … where users can earn cryptocurrency by investing money into a cloud-mining operation.

The names of the applications are Bitfunds, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet, Crypto Holic, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Bitcoin 2021, Minebit Pro, and Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud.

Trend Micro explained that these malicious applications “trick victims into viewing advertisements, paying for subscription services that have an average monthly fee of $ 15, and paying for higher mining capacities without getting anything in return.”

The firm added: “We have reported our findings to Google Play and the apps have been promptly removed from the Play Store.”

However, the cybersecurity firm said that searching for the keywords “cloud mining” on Google Play still produces “numerous concerning applications of the same type”, adding that “some of these applications have even been downloaded more than 100,000 times”.

Citing data from the company’s Mobile App Reputation Service (MARS), Trend Micro detailed:

More than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still available online. These apps, which do not have cryptocurrency mining capabilities and deceive users into watching in-app ads, have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021.

“Our research also found that some of these fake cryptocurrency mining apps were prompting their users to click on ads rather than pressure them to pay for more computing power,” the firm detailed.

Some apps, such as Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet and Bitcoin 2021, contain malicious features with interfaces flooded with ads, the company described. Users are asked to click on the ads to prove that the users are not bots and are informed that they may start mining after viewing video ads within the app. They are also “informed to see in-app video ads to increase extraction speed.”

Some apps require users to “invite multiple friends to download the app to unlock the withdrawal interface,” the firm said, adding:

However, even after users are able to invite friends and unlock the withdrawal interface, they wouldn’t be able to withdraw cryptocurrency from the app as it is always in a waiting state.

Have you come across any fake cryptocurrency mining apps? Let us know in the comment section.

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