The Google Play Store has 2.87 million apps available now for users to download and use on their smartphones.
Android is known for its flexible policies for app developers. Unlike IOS, Android doesn’t have a strict quality framework for developers to follow. That’s why you have almost 1 million more apps in the Google Play Store than in the Apple App Store.
While you might be thinking that great! More apps to choose from is obviously better, it’s not great news for your privacy and security. Google’s developer-friendly policies have allowed hundreds of hackers and cybercriminals to slip under the radar and launch fake apps on the Play Store that can steal your data.
Fake apps contain malicious code or malware (virus) that enters your phone when you download and install the app. The reason most users can’t spot them is because they look and function identical to real apps.
Some fake apps have millions of downloads, taking them to the top ranks of the Play Store. So, you naturally trust and download them, because no one really thinks twice about downloading apps that are topping the charts.
This article talks about 3 fake apps currently available on the Google Play store, that you definitely shouldn’t download on your smartphone.
What is a Fake App?
Before we talk about fake apps, you’ll need to know what a fake app is. Are they only apps that look at and steal the personal data in your phone? Sometimes yes, and by clicking that allow button you can give an app a lot of permission to access your personal data, so that’s definitely something to be aware of, but the fake apps we are talking about a more malicious.
The worst fake apps will actually install malware or virus on your device. In most cases, you won’t even realize that your phone has installed a virus. It will run quietly in the background, while the malware continues to steals all the personal data and account credentials it can get its hands on. All this information is sent out your phone and uploaded to one of the hacker’s servers. Other fake apps install malicious bots on your device that aggressively show you ads.
Now that you know what fake apps are, here are 3 fake apps that you should definitely ignore on the Google Play Store:
1. H5 Game Box:
On paper, H5 Game Box looks like the perfect solution for mobile gamers. Instead of downloading each and every game, you can just download this app and play through its large selection of built-in games.
But sadly it’s all fake. This fake app actually aggressively displays ads on your phone to ramp up its ad revenue. Most of its games are unplayable, and the app requires you to allow access to your gallery. When an app gaming app wants to access your gallery, it should raise a couple of eyebrows.
The game currently has more than 1000 downloads, and is still available on the play store, even though it was listed as a fake app according to a recent cybersecurity report.
2. Rocket Cleaner:
This app has more than 10 million downloads on the Google Play store and more than a hundred thousand reviews. However, this is another fake app that aggressively advertises on the user’s smartphone, and has clickbait to steal the user’s data.
When you use this app to remove your cache files and boost your phone’s memory, you’ll often see prompts like “Your phone is about to be locked, click here to know why”. These are actually clickbait. When you click on the prompt, you’ll be directed to a site that will ask you to log in with your social media credentials.
Thousands of users have left comments and reviews on Google Play Store regarding this fake app, but it still remains on top of the play store’s search list.
3. Super Clean Lite:
This app has more than a hundred thousand downloads on the Google Play Store. At first glance, this app feels great. There aren’t too many ads, the UX looks simple and stylish, and it’s easy to use.
But here’s the catch. When you scan your phone more than twice with this app, it’ll repeatedly show you the same results. No matter how many times you scan your phone with this app, it’ll keep showing the same amount of unused memories, and the same amount of junk files.
On top of that, when you’re downloading this app, it requires permission to access every single file on your phone, including your contacts. So, it’s actually gaining easy access to your personal files, and it doesn’t clean your junk files as it claims.
To Sum it Up
These are just 3 of the thousands of fake apps currently looming on the Google Play Store. Google had recently teamed up with top cybersecurity firms to form the App Defense Alliance. The ADA constantly works to detect harmful applications on the Play Store and remove them for user convenience. This is certainly a welcome initiative, but they have a long way to go.
Read how to spot a fake appto learn more about fake apps and how to keep your phone safe from them.
Phoneia.com (July 24, 2021). 3 Fake Apps Still Topping The Play Store’s Charts in 2021. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/3-fake-apps-still-topping-the-play-stores-charts-in-2021/