Over the past couple of months, cryptocurrency mining has garnered everyone’s attention. Cryptocurrency is all the rage, and as it is with most things, malicious apps and hackers have taken advantage of this hype! These cryptocurrencies are attracting the public’s attention, and hackers are exploiting this trend to trick innocent users into installing malware on their smartphones. The apps enticed users to invest money in cloud mining services and reap profits via the standard “get rich quick” scheme. Fortunately, these malicious actors have been identified and Google removed them.
According to Google Play Store, 8 dangerous apps that were posing as cryptocurrency mining apps have been removed – users were lured by promises of great profits by investing money in a cloud-mining operation.
“Despite these apps not being associated with cloud-mining operations or having any cryptocurrency-mining features, some of these apps prompt users to pay for increased cryptocurrency-mining capabilities via the apps’ in-app billing systems that range from $14.99 to as high as $189.99,” reported Trend Micro, an American-Japanese multinational cybersecurity software company.
According to Trend Micro, the eight banned apps required users to watch advertisements and had average monthly fees of $115 (approximately $1,114). Additionally, these apps recommended that users could purchase their favourite cryptocurrency “machines” in the cloud in order to get increased mining ability. “The app called Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System prompts its users to upgrade their crypto mining capacity by “buying” their favourite mining machines to earn more coins at a faster rate,” the report further added.
The eight malicious apps deleted by Google from Play Store are listed below:
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
Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud
MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & BTC miner
What’s worse is, Trend Micro reports that there are still over 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps available. In just one year, these apps affected over 4,500 users, according to the security research firm.
How To Recognize a Fake Cryptomining App:
1. Carefully read the app’s reviews: Fake apps will receive numerous 5-star ratings once they are released to the public. You should pay more attention to the 1-star reviews- this is because app makers can also fake and pay for reviews to convince people to download their software.
2. Enter an invalid cryptocurrency wallet address: Trend Micro says that if a user enters an invalid address and the app accepts it and is able to perform further operations, there is a high probability that it is a fraudulent application.
3. Restart the app or phone while it is mining: If a device is restarted while mining is in progress and the mining application is terminated in the background, the counter will be reset to zero.
4. Verify whether there is a withdrawal fee: In contrast to the profits typically made from cloud mining, cryptocurrency transfers require a handling fee. Free withdrawals are therefore very suspicious, the firm said. Withdrawal fees are another tell-tale sign of these apps. Compared to cloud mining, they charge a relatively high handling fee.
You should uninstall any of these apps if you already have them installed on your device. To do so, go to Settings and click on Apps. Next, select ‘Uninstall’ from the menu next to the app’s name.