Experts uncovered over 200 fleeceware applications that lured $400,000,000 from users

Avast experts found over 200 fleeceware applications in the App Store and Google Play (134 for iOS and 70 for Android). These applications have been downloaded over a billion times and have already brought to their creators over $400,000,000.

Let me remind you that this is a relatively new type of malware: this term was coined by Sophos at the end of last year and then referred exclusively to Android applications.

Ads for fleeceware apps often appear on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

These apps exploit legal loopholes associated with the trial period mechanism. So, if after the end of the free period the user simply deletes such an application without cancelling the subscription, the money for its use will continue to be debited from the account.the researchers say.

For example, Android apps discovered last year were installed over 600,000,000 times, they ignored deletion and the end of the trial period, and continued to charge users quite a lot ($ 100 to $ 240 per year) for basic tools like QR scanners. -codes and calculators.

Most of the fleeceware applications now found by Avast specialists are musical instrument simulators, photo editors, camera filters, palmistry and prediction applications, and scanners for reading QR codes and PDFs.

Experts say that, for example, the FortuneScope application, after a short trial period, charges $ 66 per week, which will cost the victim $ 3,432 per year if the subscription is not canceled. At the same time, the cost of most applications discovered by analysts ranges from $4 to $12 per week, that is, from $208 to $624 per year.

Despite the fact that these applications mostly fulfil their functions, it is unlikely that users would want to regularly pay for an expensive subscription if they knew its real cost. Especially considering the existence of cheaper or even free analogues of such applications. It looks like these fleeceware apps are primarily aimed at kids and teens. Such a conclusion can be drawn from the colourful screenshots and advertising banners of such applications on popular social networks, which offer “free download” or “free install” of such applications. By the time parents notice the weekly cash write-offs, creators of fleeceware applications can already generate significant income.Yakub Vavra, a threat researcher at Avast says.

The full list of fleeceware applications found in the Google Play Store can be found here, and in the Apple AppStore here.

Let me remind you that we also wrote that Minecraft fans downloaded fleeceware from Google Play over 5,000,000 times.

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Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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