Upstream researchers have identified more than 29,000 dangerous apps in the first quarter of 2020. Among the most dangerous is Snaptube, an app that activates subscription services
Upstream is one of the leading cybersecurity companies and offers many phone carriers a platform to protect them from hacking and scams. This platform is called Secure-D and it records all the fraud attempts that users experience every day. And the data from these first months of 2020 are disturbing, despite the outbreak of a global pandemic that was supposed to slow down the work of hackers.
In comparison to the same period last year, the number of dangerous apps hiding viruses has doubled, reaching 29,000. While the number of scams increased by 55%, compared to the same period last year (a total of 290 million scam attempts were blocked worldwide, including Italy). From the data collected by Secure-D, one of the most dangerous apps for users is Snaptube, an application that allows you to download videos from the web, but actually activates paid services for tens of euros.
In the Android world Snaptube is not new. We already talked about it last October, thanks again to a report by Upstream. In that case, Secure-D had blocked fraudulent transactions coming from Snaptube for over $90 million. The company's complaint, however, doesn't seem to have stopped the app, which has reached 40 million downloads, but has been removed from the Google Play Store (it's still present in third-party stores).
What are the dangerous apps to delete right away from your Android smartphone
Upstream's report offers some very interesting insights. Nove delle dieci app più pericolose scoperte in questo inizio di 2020 sono presenti, o lo sono state per un breve periodo, sul Google Play Store. Cosa vuol dire questo? Che da un lato gli hacker sono sempre più abili nello sfruttare le falle di sicurezza e dall’altro che il Google Play Protect, il sistema di sicurezza sviluppato dall’azienda di Mountain View per proteggere il Play Store dalle app fraudolente ha dei problemi, non è efficiente.
I ricercatori di Upstream hanno anche individuato quali sono le categorie di app più pericolose:
- editor di video e foto (soprattutto quelli gratuiti che promettono funzioni premium)
- news e magazine
- app social
It's no coincidence that these are the categories most sought after by users in this lockdown period when you were forced to stay locked in your home.
What is the most dangerous app discovered by Upstream
Upstream also identifies a very dangerous app that should be deleted from your smartphone immediately. It's called Snaptube and has been downloaded more than 40 million times. The app allows you to download videos from the web for free, but it doesn't actually do that. Secure-D has blocked more than 30 million fraudulent transactions coming right from Snaptube in this early 2020 (after blocking more than 70 million in all of 2019). The app, in fact, through a rather complicated system manages to activate paid services worth a few tens of euros without the user being able to notice it.
The activation of subscription services is not Snaptube's only problem. The app, in fact, also shows video ads in the background, generating unintentional clicks from users that produce another source of income for Snaptube's developers. A system very similar to adware, the viruses present in many apps that display misleading advertisements.
Tips to defend yourself against Android viruses
Snaptube is currently not present on the Google Play Store, but remains available for download on other third-party stores. Our advice is to delete it as soon as possible from your smartphone if you have it installed.
The dangers, however, can hide in any application: always remember to install an Android antivirus and to download only applications that you are sure of. Always check reviews and be wary of apps with overly positive ratings: they're fake.