Google Apps Ban: 150 Nasty Apps Banned From Play Store
Google Apps Ban - As shocking as it may sound, more than 10 million users were likely affected by these SMS scam apps. These 150 dangerous apps were misleading users and were banned by Google Play Store.
Google Apps Ban: Google has banned 150 other dangerous apps from its app store called the Google Play Store. These 150 malicious SMS scam apps on the Play Store were part of a campaign called UltimaSMS in which malicious actors enrol victims inexpensive premium SMS services that earn them money and ultimately leave victims facing big losses. Avast says that these applications have been downloaded more than 10.5 million times from the Google Play Store and "are almost identical in structure and functionality." You can check the link for the full list of 150 scam SMS apps banned by the Google Play Store later in the article.
The worrying thing about the UltimaSMS scam campaign is that it is not limited to one country or topography. Rather, it is spread across the globe and Android users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the United States, and Poland are the most affected countries.
How these nasty SMS scam apps work
As Avast explains, when a user downloads these apps from the Google Play Store, the app checks their location, IMEI number, and phone number to determine which language and country area code to use for the scam. Once the user opens the app, a screen is set up in their device's local language to ask them to enter their phone number and, in some cases, email address to gain access to the app's advertised purpose.
By entering the requested details, the user is subscribed to premium SMS services that can charge more than $ 40 per month, depending on the country and mobile operator. Instead of unlocking the advertised features of the apps, these apps display more SMS subscription options or stop working altogether. The sole purpose of the fake apps is to trick users into signing up for premium SMS subscriptions.
Avast wrote on the blog, "... many people who submitted their phone numbers in the apps might not even realize that the additional charges to their phone bill are connected to the apps."
Google Apps Ban - 150 Nasty Apps Removed From Google Play Store
You can check the full list of malicious apps banned by the Google Play Store here. How to save malicious applications found in Google Play Store. Avast has shared some tips to help users protect themselves from these types of SMS scams in these dangerous applications. Have a look:
1. Deactivate the premium SMS option with your operator. Disabling this option will nullify the UltimaSMS scam.
2. Review the reviews carefully. Fraudulent apps have often increased review averages, but written reviews can reveal an app's true purpose.
3. Unless you trust the application, do not enter a phone number.
4. Before entering the details, read the fine print available in the application details.
5. Stick to official app stores (Google Play Store or Apple App Store) for downloading apps.