The Apple and Google application stores hold hundreds of fraudulent cryptocurrency applications hidden amongst the legitimate ones, according to a report from CNBC.
Cybersecurity firm RiskIQ looked at over 18,000 apps and found that 661 blacklisted cryptocurrency apps were found across 20 app stores, including Apple’s App Store, and Google Play.
The latter has more than 272 blacklisted applications available for download.
The apps often include phrases like ‘bitcoin exchange’, ‘bitcoin wallet’ and ‘cryptocurrency’, luring victims by capitalising on the popularity of the booming industry, according to the report.
Vice president of RiskIQ Fabian Libeau said: “We are seeing threat actors around the world exploiting what is already a hostile currency in a lawless digital world. Before handing over any cash or personal data, investors should carry out thorough research into the exchange and wallet apps they intend to use. By checking the developer’s name, user reviews and the number of app downloads, investors can measure the validity of an app and be more confident in their choice.”
Back in December, a fake cryptocurrency application pretending to be MyEtherWallet became one of the most popular downloads from the Apple store. MyEtherWallet is an open-source application used for generating Ethereum wallets. It is free to download, but the fake wallet charged $4.99. This didn’t prevent it from becoming the third most popular app at the store at one point.
This is NOT US. We have file reports and emailed and reported. Would appreciate the communities assistance in getting these scamtards out of our lives.
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— MyEtherWallet.com (@myetherwallet) December 10, 2017
Only yesterday, another fake wallet popped up, this time on Google Play:
There is a FAKE MyEtherWallet app on Google Play that has yet to be removed.
Please help us light a fire under @GooglePlay’s butts and get it taken down!
REPORT THIS (DO NOT DOWNLOAD): https://play(dot)google(dot)com/store/apps/details?id=com.ether.etherwallet
— MyEtherWallet.com (@myetherwallet) January 24, 2018
On the 20th of December, security firm Lookout reported that three fake Bitcoin applications on Google Store had been downloaded approximately 20,000 times before they were removed.