Source: AdobeStock / fran_kie

Eight cryptocurrency cloud mining apps that pretended to offer crypto such as bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) to users in return for investments into cloud-mining operations were recently found to be fakes, tricking users into watching ads and paying for subscription services, according to a recent report by US-Japanese cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

The discovered malicious apps “trick victims into watching ads, paying for subscription services that have an average monthly fee of USD 15, and paying for increased mining capabilities without getting anything in return,” the company said.

The team said they had reported their findings to Google Play, and that “the apps have been promptly removed from the Play Store.”

The eight exposed Android apps include:

BitFunds – Crypto Cloud MiningBitcoin Miner – Cloud MiningBitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud WalletCrypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud MiningDaily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining SystemBitcoin 2021MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & btc minerEthereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud

An analysis of the fake crypto mining apps demonstrated that they do not show any actual crypto mining behavior. Their fake mining activity on the apps’ user interface (UI) is performed through a local mining simulation module which comprises a counter and some random functions, Trend Micro said.

The firm’s analysis shows that more than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps continue to trick victims.

“These apps, which do not have cryptocurrency mining capabilities and deceive users into watching in-app ads, have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021,” according to the firm.

Two of the exposed apps are paid apps: Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining costs USD 12.99, while Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System comes at a price of USD 5.99, according to Trend Micro.

However, both free-of-charge and paid fake mining apps generate significantly bigger costs for their victims.

“Despite these apps not being associated with cloud-mining operations or having any cryptocurrency-mining features, some of these apps prompt users to pay for increased cryptocurrency-mining capabilities via the apps’ in-app billing systems that range from USD 14.99 to as high as USD 189.99,” the report says.

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