Quick Heal Security Lab has shared information that there are several fake apps on Google Play Store, which have more than 50,000+ installations. These fake apps appear to be similar to genuine apps like PDF readers, PDF downloaders, etc, but do not actually perform any of these function.
The blog post by the security firm reveals that the main reason these apps exist is to increase the download count of other applications and boost their ratings by forcing users into doing so.
The post notes that after a user has downloaded one of these fake apps, they are then prompted to download and give five star rating to a sponsored app, in order to unlock the fake app. So for instance, if you have download one of these fake PDF reader apps, it will ask you to like or download another app, before you can use any of functions of the PDF app.
It seems even if the user gives 5-star ratings, the app only gets unlocked for 24 hours in some cases. This means that the user has to again give high ratings to another app, in order for the one they have downloaded to actually work. As pointed out, the app does not really provide any of the functions that it claims to support.
The post also shows that in some of these fake apps, the application is simply loading a url. In fact, the application does not even have any permission with regard to being a PDF reader or converter.
Quick Heal warns that users should be careful while downloading such fake applications. The security firm has reported these apps to Google.
Quick Heal also says that before downloading any app, users should check the description, the app developer’s name and website. Going through reviews and ratings is also needed, though these can be faked easily.
Once again, users should avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores and stick with the Google Play Store. Users should also rely on mobile antivirus app, to prevent any malware from getting installed.
Recently, Google had revealed details on how it was cracking down on fake app reviews as well. In a blog post, Google said it had removed million of fake ratings from the Play Store and that has a team of engineers monitoring for suspicious activities on ratings, reviews.
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