170 cryptomining Android apps identified as shell scams that do nothing

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Cryptocurrency mining is the new rage these days and cryptomining services that make you a small amount of profit for mining tasks seem the way to go in a busy life. It makes even more sense from the convenience of your mobile but don’t fall for the scam, as has been discovered recently. More than 170 Android apps, with 25 of them on the Play Store have been identified as scamming the users – acting as shells to collect money for services that are actually never provided.

This revelation comes courtesy of security firm Lookout who have published their finding today about this clever scam to trick users. These apps claim to mine cryptocurrency in the cloud for a nominal fee which any user would not mind paying.

In reality, these apps do nothing and just pretend to be doing the hard work for you, mining cryptocurrency. Since they are not malicious or harm the user’s device or steal sensitive information in any way, these apps got under the radar thus far.

The app’s interface showed a virtual dashboard displaying the cryptocurrency mining rate and the number of mined coins. However, when the computer code of the app is analyzed with the network traffic, there is nothing, and the coin balance shown is phony.

According to the security firm, the coin value displayed is incremented slowly and in some apps, the value is reset to zero when the device is rebooted. To ensure the user doesn’t notice anything fishy, the withdrawals cannot be done immediately and can only be performed when the balance reaches the minimum threshold.

Even if the threshold is reached, the withdrawal never happens as the app crashes on the cash-out process or the coin balance is reset. Over 93,000 people have been fooled by these apps thus far and more than $350,000 paid for cloud cryptomining services that never happened in reality.

The fake apps on the Play Store have been removed after the report but the other apps are still available on third-party platforms. There is no way to remove these apps from such platforms, so users have to be aware themselves to not fall prey to this bogus agenda.

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