Mobile fraudsters turn to cryptocurrency, fewer apps blacklisted


The cryptocurrency hype has opened new avenues for malicious apps and mobile app fraudsters. According to a new report by RiskIQ, the digital threat management company, malicious mobile apps have continued to decline. However, the company noted a 43% decline in blacklisted apps during Q1 2018 compared to Q4 2017.
Google Play was the most blacklisted prominent app store during Q1 with 8,287 blacklisted apps.
AndroidAPKDescargar continues to have the most blacklisted apps overall with over 40,000 apps. However, the addition of new apps declined considerably.
The report also noted that around 1.4% of 1,508,825 new apps were blacklisted which is generally a lower compared to previous quarters.
Blacklisted feral apps declined from 3,507 in Q4 2017 to 1,981 in Q1 2018.

RiskIQ further warned that some blacklisted apps were now masquerading as Bitcoin exchanges or wallets in an attempt to abuse the popularity of cryptocurrencies. The rise also signals that digital currencies are becoming more attractive.
In March 2018, RiskIQ identified an app called Calendar 2 on the Apple App Store which mined Monero digital currency on user devices. Despite disclosing that they were mining, the developers had it set to default rather than giving users the option. The app has since been pulled from the app store due to bugs.
The report concludes:

“Users should be discerning and skeptical when downloading anything and have passive protection such as antivirus software along with regular backups. Watch out for malicious apps mimicking reputable, highly downloaded apps. There is a persistent problem of lookalike apps. This tactic is effective because our brains recognize and make instantaneous judgments about visual stimuli.”

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