30 apps to be deleted immediately from the iPhone: which ones are

Sophos has discovered 30 apps that steal money from users' smartphones: here are which ones and how to defend yourself

Sophos, a company expert in cybersecurity solutions, raises the alarm: there are 30 apps on the App Store that trick users out of money. The term used by Sophos is fleeceware and it was the same company that coined it in 2019 to identify a group of Android apps that use the same ploy to "steal" money from users. What does fleeware mean? It is a word derived from the verb to fleece which literally means to pluck.

These apps are not illegal and neither is the method used to charge hidden costs to users, but they use scammy ploys that most people don't know about. And that's why you find charges on your current account that can exceed even 100 euros. In its latest report "Don't Let Fleeceware Sneak into Your iPhone", Sophos has identified for the first time iPhone apps that can be defined as fleeceware. To defend yourself against these types of apps, you need to be very smart and not be fooled by misleading advertisements. Here's what to do.

What are fleeceware apps

Let's clear up a doubt that users might have: fleeceware apps are not malware. If you install them on your iPhone, they don't download any virus or anything that could affect the iPhone's functionality. In the eyes of users they are legitimate apps that offer some tools and features for free, but in reality they hide a deception. They are not free, you have to pay a fee to use them, which is deducted directly from your bank account.

Fleeceware, in fact, is a term created by Sophos and comes from the English verb to fleece, which can also mean "to fleece". This type of app has been in vogue for the past year and has allowed software houses to earn well over a million euros.

Fleeceware apps are spread through major advertising campaigns, with banners popping up on every website and within other apps. But that's not all, they also use the tool of reviews: usually they are all positive and five stars.

How fleeceware apps work

Fleeceware apps are sneaky. Users install them for free accepting all the conditions of use, not thinking that there is a trick behind it. For a certain period of time (two or three months at the most) the app remains free, but after a while it starts charging the user for a weekly, monthly or yearly subscription, which can cost up to 500 euros in a year.

These apps use a business model that is completely legal and present on various online stores, but users are unaware of the "hidden costs" and the fact that they are free only for a short trial period. Software companies also don't warn when this period is over and immediately start charging for the subscription.

What are the 30 fleeceware apps for iPhone

According to research conducted by Sophos, there are 30 fleeceware apps available on the App Store. In total, they have been downloaded more than 3.5 million times and have earned developers more than $4.5 million. Un guadagno molto elevato e che fa capire quanto il mercato delle app fleeceware sia florido.

Nella lista si trovano anche applicazioni molto utilizzate dagli utenti e che negli ultimi mesi hanno scalato la classifica delle app più utilizzate. Ad esempio l’app “Selfie Art- Photo Editor" è stata scaricata più di 500mila volte e ha fruttato agli sviluppatori oltre 700.000 dollari. Infatti, dopo il periodo di prova parte l’abbonamento mensile da 8,49 dollari.

Ecco la lista delle 30 app fleeceware:

  • Seer App: Face Horoscope, Palm
  • Selfie Art – Photo Editor
  • Palmistry Decoder
  • Lucky Life – Future Seer
  • Life Palmistry – Al Palm & Tag
  • Picsjoy-Cartoon Effect Editor
  • Aging seer – Faceapp,Horoscope
  • Face Aging Scan-AI Age Camera
  • Face Reader – Horoscope Secret
  • Horoscope Secret
  • CIAO – Live Video Chat
  • Astro Time & Daily Horoscope
  • Video Recorder / Reaction
  • Crazy Helium Funny Face Editor
  • Banuba: Face Filters & Effects
  • QR Code Reader – Scanner
  • QR Code Reader & Barcode PRO
  • Max Volume Booster
  • Face Reading – Horoscope 2020
  • Forecast Master 2019
  • mSpy Lite Phone Family Tracker
  • Fortunescope: Palm Reader 2019
  • Zodiac Master Plus – Palm Scan
  • WonderKey-Cartoon Avatar Maker
  • Avatar Creator – Cartoon Emoji
  • iMoji – Cartoon Avatar Emojis
  • Life Insight-Palm & Animal Face
  • Curiosity Lab-Fun Encyclopedia
  • Quick Art: 1-Tap Photo Editor
  • Astroline astrology, horoscope
  • Celeb Twin – Who you look like
  • My Replica – Celebrity Like Me.

Come difendersi dalle app fleeceware

Rispetto ai malware e agli adware, altra tipologia di app fraudolente molto diffuse sugli smartphone, difendersi dalle app fleeceware è più complicato. In the eyes of antivirus, they are legitimate apps and do not hide any malicious code. For this reason, the best weapon to protect yourself from this type of application is attention. You should only install apps developed by reputable software houses.

Also, you should pay close attention to reviews. Usually, the reviews of fleeceware apps are all five stars and praise the features. If you see that there is not even a single negative review, be very careful.

If, unfortunately, you have been a victim of a fleeceware app, you can disable the subscription directly from your Apple smartphone. You need to go into Settings, tap on your name and enter your Apple ID password. At this point you need to tap on Subscriptions and cancel the active subscription. This way you will no longer be charged to your account for extra expenses.