Fake apps BitScam and CloudScam have defrauded users of money worth over $350,000, this was revealed by a security research firm that found illicit crypto apps targeting thousands of people.
Over 170 apps were found by security researchers at the Lookout Threat Lab, which is estimated to have defrauded over 93,000 people. These apps were designed to target people interested in cryptocurrency and were divided into two distinct Android app families, BitScam and CloudScam.
172 different paid Android applications from two different families, BitScam and CloudScam, have been downloaded more than 93,000 times. https://t.co/RDdFK9r9kW #cyberprotect #cybersecurity #scam #crypto #cryptocurrencies #android #technews pic.twitter.com/UmdKpuxG28
— NE Cyber Crime Unit (@nerccu) July 8, 2021
Because only 25 of these apps are available for download on Google Play, the majority of them are sideloaded. Lookout has been in contact with Google, and the apps have been removed from Google Play.
The BitScam and CloudScam apps claim to offer cloud cryptocurrency mining for a fee. Lookout researchers discovered that no cloud crypto mining takes occurred after studying the apps.
Scammers keep the money paid for apps and updates and never provide the promised services. According to Lookout, the apps stole more than $350,000 from their users.
“These apps were able to go under the radar since they don’t perform anything malicious,” said Ioannis Gasparis, a Lookout mobile app security researcher.
“They’re just shells set up to grab customers caught up in the bitcoin excitement and collect money for services that don’t exist,” Gasparis continued. Buying products or services online always involves some level of confidence, and these frauds show that cryptocurrency is no different.”
Both the BitScam and CloudScam apps deceive users into believing they are paying for cloud cryptocurrency mining services.
Users can purchase additional services and upgrades within the apps, either by transferring cryptocurrency to the creators’ wallets or through Google Play, in addition to the apps themselves costing money.
Fake minimum account balances are also displayed in such apps to attract users to spend more money on services and upgrades.
Since its inception in the early 2010s, the crypto market has been plagued with scams, frauds, and hacks.
Unassuming tokens, apps, and dodgy developers have wasted billions of dollars, doing little to improve the reputation of cryptocurrencies in mainstream circles.