Cybersecurity company Avast has identified several applications available on Google Play Store that have been targetting fans of Minecraft, a popular video game. These apps have been classified as “fleeceware” as they lure users by offering new skins, colourful wallpapers or modifications for the game. However, they charge the users wrongfully.
At first, these “fleeceware” apps which are relatively new offer a trial period as short as just three days. The idea behind the app is based on the possibility that the user forgets about the app and after the short trial expires the apps can charge them with the real subscription cost without alerting them. On the Play Store, these apps have either a one-star rating or a five-star. There is barely anything in between.
“Scams of this nature take advantage of those who don’t always read the fine print details of every app they download. In this case, young children are particularly at risk because they may think they are innocently downloading a Minecraft accessory, but not understand or may not pay attention to the details of the service to which they are subscribing,” noted Ondrej David, Avast’s malware analysis team lead. “We urge our customers to remain vigilant when downloading any app from unknown developers and to always carefully research user reviews and billing agreements before subscribing.”
The five apps named Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft PE, Skins for Roblox, MasterCraft for Minecraft, Master for Minecraft, Boys and Girls Skins charge 30 dollars a week and have over one million downloads so far. Maps Skins and Mods for Minecraft has over 1,00,000 downloads and charges 30 dollars a week whereas with a similar number of downloads Live Wallpapers HD & 3D Background 90 dollars a year.
How to get rid of infected apps?
If you have these apps installed on your Android smartphone, just uninstalling them won’t do the trick. You will need to cancel the subscription also by going into the ‘Subscriptions’ in the Play Store’s menu.
Note: All seven apps mentioned above were available for download on the Google Play Store at the time of publishing.
Express Tech is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@expresstechie) and stay updated with the latest tech news.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines