Want to share with your friends too?

Science
28 Dec 2018

#ScamAlert: Fake Alexa 'setup app' fools users, tops download charts

Fake Alexa 'setup app' fools Apple users

When compared to Google, Apple's app moderation policies are way too strict.

Its App Store team follows a thorough review process to allow or not to allow an app on the platform.

But, this holiday season, the Cupertino giant missed its mark and allowed a fake app to surface on the store, one going by the name of "Setup for Amazon Alexa".

Here's more.

In context

Fake Alexa 'setup app' fools Apple users
Scam app claims to be setup companion

Issue

Scam app claims to be setup companion

The scam app, first flagged by 9To5Google, claimed to be a companion service for Amazon's Alexa smart speakers.

Though it wasn't displaying ads or installing malware, the users were requested to provide information like their IP addresses and device serial numbers.

The fake service came from a company called One World Software, but there's no clue where the information it mined actually went to.

Downloads

Plus, the app topped App Store download charts

After the fake app was flagged, Amazon and Apple came to the rescue and took it down from the App Store.

However, by that time, the app had already raked several downloads and topped App Store's download charts.

It went as high as #75 in the "Top Free" apps list and #6 in the list of top 'Utilities' apps.

Love Tech news?

Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Notify Me

This has happened before too

The case of a scam app slipping into App Store is rare but not new. Back in September, a similar issue was flagged when an app topped the 'Utilities' charts of the App Store, but was actually sending user browser history to a Chinese server.

How to avoid fake apps like these?

Preventive steps

How to avoid fake apps like these?

The problem of fake/malicious apps is common on Google Play, and now, it seems like even Apple is not fully shielded from the issue.

The companies are working on their part to bolster store security and protect users, but you should keep an eye out for such apps.

Look for reviews, ratings before downloading an app and also check its developer's website, if possible.

Ask NewsBytes
User Image

Most asked questions

Which app to use for setting up Alexa?

What fake apps like this could do?

How to stay clear of such apps?

Can such apps take over my Android phones?

More questions

Which app to use for setting up Alexa?

Asked 2018-12-28 14:57:59 by Aditya Singh

Answered by NewsBytes

To set up and use Alexa smart speakers, you have to download the official Amazon Alexa app (from Amazon Mobile LLC), be it on Google Play Store or on Apple's App Store.

What fake apps like this could do?

Asked 2018-12-28 14:57:59 by Vishal Singh

Answered by NewsBytes

Fake apps could be used to attack in various ways. For instance, they could be used to steal information from your device, to control them remotely, or to make you see ads and download paid apps.

How to stay clear of such apps?

Asked 2018-12-28 14:57:59 by Trishla Rangan

Answered by NewsBytes

Checking the website of the developer and reviews is probably the best to determine whether an app is good enough to be installed or not.

Can such apps take over my Android phones?

Asked 2018-12-28 14:57:59 by Trisha Das

Answered by NewsBytes

If an attack is intended, then yes. A hacker could get you to install a scam app and then use it take control of your phone, its features.

Next Timeline