Smartphone app spending in H1 2019 reached $39.7 billion

Ruben Fields
July 7, 2019

The app has no official tie-up with Samsung and only loads the update (.) com domain in an Android browser.

It doesn't matter how hard Google tries to secure its Play Store, malicious apps still make its way towards the platform. This time, malware researcher Aleksejs Kuprins from CSIS Security group published a reported about a deceptive app "Updates for Samsung" which is allegedly created to update firmware for Samsung smartphones free of charge automatically.

On digging through the site we find that the vendors are offering a free and paid Samsung firmware updates to users. What's worse is that the app has been downloaded over 10 million times. Also, the top three apps by global downloads remained unchanged from H1 2018 says Sensor Tower.

"Approximately 10,000 million Android users installed Updates for Samsung" so far.

According to a malware analyst from CSIS Security Group, the app limits the speed of free downloads to 56KBps and the downloads eventually time out. It promises firmware updates for Samsung devices but when a user opens the app, it redirects users to a website full of ads and also demands money for the updates.

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Rummaging through the app's reviews, one can see hundreds of users complaining that the site is an ad-infested hellhole where majority can't find what they're looking - and that's only when the app works and doesn't crash.

What's particularly interesting to note is that the Google Play Store saw 2.8 times the install volume of Apple's App Store, but Apple generated more than 1.8 times the revenue. So, if you try installing any free software, the download will never finish even with a reliable network. The app requires users to provide their credit card info rather than using Google Play subscriptions. It is also worth adding that not all the Android apps are available via the Play Store.

Also, the app offers a Dollars 19.99 SIM card unlocking service but it is not yet known if it functions as intended or just another scam.

Sadly, the app is still live on the Play Store, and security researcher Aleksejs Kuprins said he contacted Google to take it down.

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