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A fake ‘updates’ app tricked millions of Samsung users: Here’s what happened

A fake app, known as 'Updates for Samsung', has tricked millions of users. The app is unrelated to Samsung and it used to ask people money for updates.

updates for samsung, samsung update, samsung fake update app, fake update app, updates for samsung fake app, samsung update app, samsung fake update app, fake samsung update app A fake app named ‘Updates for Samsung’ tricked millions of users for Samsung firmware update. (Image source: Medium/CSIS)

A security firm group CSIS has spotted a fake app on Google Play Store that was scamming Android users, more specifically Samsung phone users, in the name of firmware and security updates. The app, which has now been removed from the Play Store, would take users to ad-filled pages and charge them for software updates.

The details of the malware app “Updates for Samsung” was shared by Alex, the malware analyst at the CSIS Security Group on Medium.com. As per the report, the app was installed by over 10 million users.

The fake application claimed to provide users with free as well as paid Samsung firmware updates. However, Samsung doesn’t charge for any kind of firmware updates for its smartphones. All official Samsung updates are free of charge.

updates for samsung, samsung update, samsung fake update app, fake update app, updates for samsung fake app, samsung update app, samsung fake update app, fake samsung update app Screenshot of the app shared by CSIS on Medium. (Image source: Medium/CSIS)

The report mentions that the app offered a free download with restricted speed limits of 56KBps, which took around four hours to finish a download more than 500MB in size. Also, the download would end up being timed out and fail.

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It used to push users a premium annual subscription worth $34.99 (around Rs 2,500) to download the update with fast speeds. Apart from extorting money, the update reportedly showed ads on the main screen with an option to pay to remove ads. The app also reportedly offered SIM card unlocking for any network operator, starting at $19.99.

Also read | Why having triple cameras on your mid-range smartphone doesn’t really matter

The analyst believes that the name of the app — Updates for Samsung — is responsible for such a large of users installing the fake app. Notably, the report says that the app doesn’t include any malicious code and it could be considered a tool used by crooks to trick people.

First published on: 08-07-2019 at 08:54:12 pm
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