Dr.Web software company (reported by BleepingComputer) has found a new type of activity-tracking apps on Google Play Store that have garnered over 20 million downloads. The popularity of these three tracking apps among Android users is due to their claim to be health trackers and pedometers that motivate users to exercise by offering cash rewards for reaching specific fitness goals.
Stay away from these three apps, they are still available in the Google Play Store.
According to Dr.Web, the rewards promised by these apps are difficult to receive. To cash out, users must first accumulate a large number of rewards and then watch a large number of commercials. Despite all the effort, the apps don’t verify the payment information provided by users, making it highly unlikely that they will receive the promised money.
Three apps mentioned in the report remain in the Google Play Store. They are:
- Lucky Step – Walking Tracker with 10 million downloads.
- WalkingJoy with 5 million downloads.
- Lucky Habit: health tracker with 5 million downloads.
According to the report, the three mentioned apps connect to the same command & control server, which is commonly used by cybercriminals to direct malware-infected systems. This connection suggests that they were developed by the same person. Also, previous versions of Lucky Step-Walking Tracker falsely advertised the ability to convert rewards into gift cards for online stores.
Remember, these fraudulent developers earn money by you viewing their advertisements. The more ads you watch, the more money they earn.
The Lucky Step-Walking Tracker app underwent an update, resulting in the removal of the feature that allowed rewards to be converted into cash. The elements for this conversion were also gone, making all previously earned rewards worthless.
The way to guard against downloading harmful apps.
If you are a regular reader of PhoneArena, you may know that they advise to check the comments section before downloading an app from an unfamiliar developer, even if it is listed on the Google Play Store. This is where potential warning signs can be found, such as the comments by two users who had negative experiences after installing the Lucky Step – Walking Tracker app.
One user wrote a two-star review of the Lucky Star app, calling it “Mostly ad junk” and stating that it constantly displays full-screen ads, even interrupting alarms, to gather data and make money from users.
Avoid downloading these three apps, which have been flagged as scams in the Google Play Store. If you’ve already installed them, remove them as soon as possible to stop being bombarded with annoying ads and prevent wasting time and effort.
Beware of this additional harmful app to keep your device secure.
Avoid FitStar, a weight-loss app mentioned in Dr.Web’s report. It may seem like a good deal at first with its 29 rubles trial, but the trial is only for one day and subscribers will be charged 980 rubles for four more days of service. Full access costs 7,000 rubles and the app automatically extends subscriptions every four days. Reviews in the Google Play Store note that the app icon is not listed among installed apps, making it difficult to uninstall, and the app tries to access Facebook or Google data from the start.
Avoid the apps in the Dr.Web report to protect your phone and finances.