It’s become a norm that, now and then, new security reports emerge advising against some number of apps. The issue is most prevalent in the Android ecosystem. iPhone users are mostly lucky, thanks to Apple’s stringent stewardship of their App store.
A new report from Sophos now advises android users to delete a total of 23 apps(listed at the bottom) that have been labelled as “fleeceware” that could run you out of money. Named apps also violate Google’s new Play Store policies, according to the report.
“The new Google-issued rules are designed to address some forms of deceptive marketing display copy, but they also have some loopholes that permit other behaviour some might consider unscrupulous,” Sophos wrote in a blog post.
These 23 apps use deceptive tactics to ‘steal’ money from unsuspecting users. Some apps lure users into free trials without revealing how long they will last. Others rely on spammy subscriptions. Spam subscriptions technique involves automatic subscriptions to other apps once a user signs up for a trial on a single app. This technique can reportedly make an individual user unknowingly subscribe to apps worth “hundreds of dollars” just by clicking on a single subscription button.
Another trick used by these apps is by making it hard to read their terms and conditions. Some apps can display terms and conditions in grey fonts on white backgrounds which makes it hard for users even to go through them.
Worst of all, Sophos says that some subscription apps still display costs and even terms and conditions in grey fonts on a white background.
Sometimes also using “incredibly tiny fonts that virtually blend into the background of the subscription solicitation on a mobile device.” This issue cuts across other apps and just ‘fleeceware’.
Admittedly, it’s hard for the everyday consumer to carefully dig through the lengthy, and often confusing terms and conditions.
The only way you can save yourself is by taking precautions on apps you chose to install. Also, follow instructions provided by the App Store or Google Play on unsubscribing from app trials to be sure that you’ve done so.
Remove these 23 Scammy Android Apps