Fake AV Vendors Go Mobile

Pulkit Chandna

Recently, one paid fake AV app notched up over 10,000 downloads

There has been an alarming surge in malware targeting Android in recent years. According to one estimate, the platform accounts for 97 percent of total mobile malware. Under the circumstances, it makes sense to use an antivirus app — especially if you happen to use a lot of apps downloaded from sources other than the Play Store. While we’d love to tell you which AV apps to use, it is not something we’re going to indulge in at this point. Instead, let us tell you about the type of AV apps you should definitely avoid.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 is one AV app you should avoid at all costs. Why, you ask? Well, because it is not a real AV app, but useless (and possibly harmful) “fakeware” that was until recently available from the Play Store. What’s more, it had a $3.99 asking price and had been downloaded over 10,000 times before being exposed? It was, in fact, not the only fake AV app trying to pass off as a legit product from Moscow-based AV vendor Kaspersky Labs’ stable. As Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 was scaling Play Store popularity charts, a paid app called Kaspersky Mobile was trying to recreate its success in the Windows Phone Store.

“The first fake app was discovered in Windows Phone Store. This in itself was unusual because scammers tend to target users of Android – via Google Play – due to the platform’s popularity. The app in question went by the name of Kaspersky Mobile,” Kaspersky said on its website . “The fact there is no such program in Kaspersky Lab’s product line suggests the fraudsters didn’t expect anyone to notice the discrepancy. Another interesting feature of this particular app was the fact users had to pay for it. This meant its creators immediately started making money without having to devise additional scams such as demanding payments to remove “malware” that had supposedly been detected on users’ computers.”

“The second fake app imitating the Kaspersky Lab brand was for sale on Google Play and was called Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014.  Unlike the app for sale in Windows Phone Store, the creators of this fake app didn’t even bother to add a simulation of a scanner – the functionality was limited to random series of statements appearing on top of an “official” logo.”

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