More fake antivirus programs found in Google Play, Windows Phone Store

Mobile app stores lack the necessary mechanisms to prevent such scams, researchers from Kaspersky Lab said

Last month Google offered refunds to users who bought a fake antivirus app from Google Play, but the scam seems to be catching on and security researchers have recently identified similar apps in both the Android and Windows Phone app stores.

Malware analysts from Kaspersky Lab found a fake app called Kaspersky Mobile in the Windows Phone Store, which is unusual because cybercriminals tend to target Google Play and because Kaspersky doesn't even make an antivirus product for Windows Phone.

The fake app, which was available for 149 rubles or around US$4, used Kaspersky's logo and other branding elements and even pretended to scan files when run, said Roman Unuchek, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab in a blog post Thursday.

Kaspersky Lab was not the only brand abused by the people behind this scam. The same developer account had created fake apps using the names and logos of other popular programs, including Avira Antivirus, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera Mobile, Internet Explorer and Safari.

One of the developer's fake Windows Phone apps used the same name as a fake antivirus app found in Google Play in April -- Virus Shield.

Despite costing $3.99 and doing nothing to protect devices, the Android version of the app was downloaded over 10,000 times and made it into several "top paid" lists before being identified as a fraud. Google removed the application and offered refunds to affected users, as well as $5 in store credit.

The researchers also identified a Kaspersky-branded fake app in Google Play using the name Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014. The app's description was copied from the official Google Play page for Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, one of the company's legitimate products.

The app's creators didn't even bother to add a scan simulation to the application, Unuchek said.

"It is quite possible that more and more of these fake apps will start appearing," he said. "One thing is for sure -- the mechanisms put in place by the official stores are clearly unable to combat scams like this."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googlesecuritymobile securityscamsmalwarekaspersky labfraud

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?