Google Play Store removes eight fake cryptocurrency mining apps for tricking users, says Trend Micro

By: |
August 25, 2021 7:39 PM

Two of these apps even required users to purchase them from the Play Store in order to install them.

The apps did not have any cryptocurrency mining behaviour

Google Play Store: As many as eight deceptive cryptocurrency mining apps have been removed from Google Play Store on account of tricking users. The apps were discovered to be fake and they tricked users into watching advertisements, according to security firm Trend Micro. The apps were posing as cryptocurrency cloud mining apps allowing users to earn cryptocurrency by investing in a cloud-mining operation. However, the apps, according to Trend Micro, were tracking users into watching ads, paying an average monthly fee of $15 or about Rs 1,100 for subscription services and paying for “mining capabilities” enhancement without any return on investment.

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It also named the eight apps that were removed – Bitcoin Miner – Cloud Mining, Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining, Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud, BitFunds – Crypto Cloud Mining, Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System, Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet, MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & btc miner, and Bitcoin 2021.

Two of these apps even required users to purchase them from the Play Store in order to install them, mostly because users are more likely to trust apps that require to be paid for at the time of installation. While Crypto Holic required users to pay $12.99 or about Rs 960 in order to download it, Daily Bitcoin Rewards cost $5.99 or about Rs 450.

The apps did not have any cryptocurrency mining behaviour, as per the security firm, and only carried out bogus mining activity through a local mining simulation module that included a counter and some random functions. These apps, however, had in-app billing systems through which they asked users to pay for increased mining capabilities, charging anything between $14.99 (or about Rs 1,111) and a whopping $189.99 or about Rs 14,000.

Moreover, one of the apps – MineBit Pro – even listed in its terms of use that it was merely an educational simulation/game that would help users learn more about the crypto money ecosystem, adding that any refund for purchase of virtual goods was not guaranteed.

Though these eight apps are said to have been removed from the Google Play Store, Trend Micro is concerned about the fact that keywords like cloud mining in the Play Store lead to listing of many apps that could be of the same type, with some having over 1 lakh downloads.

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