According to AdaptiveMobile’s Ongoing Threat Analysis (OTA) there has been a sharp increase in the number of battery saver apps designed to fraudulently bill users once downloaded.
Many of these applications are promoted via banner advertising within legitimate apps or use ads designed to look like system updates, making them look genuine, but then direct users to locations outside conventional app stores.
“Most of these applications fail to improve battery life and are designed to be misleading and trick people in to signing up to recurring premium SMS charges,” says Gareth Maclachlan, COO and founder, AdaptiveMobile. “We have recently seen a spike in the number of these rogue apps, which is a violation of trust for users and carries a high risk of churn for operators. With 83% of subscribers admitting that they would change their operator if their privacy was compromised, rogue apps such as these fake battery saving apps represent a clear and present danger for mobile providers.”
“With increasing amounts of rich media content being accessed by users and battery life being evermore precious, battery saving apps are something that most mobile users are considering,” concludes Maclachlan. “Hackers and fraudsters seize every opportunity to steal data and funds from the unwary. Users may only become aware once they see the rogue transactions on their bill or in many cases may not notice at all. These ‘organisations’ rely on a large proportion of people not claiming a refund on the fraudulent fees. Operators should make sure that they have a way of monitoring for this kind of activity so that they can protect subscribers effectively.”
Top Tips for Users
1. Do not use unknown sites to download apps .
2. Beware of ‘free’ apps, and advertising within free apps, make sure they are from a reputable supplier
3. Make sure that you read reviews dating back more than a month before downloading an app
4. Check your operator’s website or community forum for information on rogue apps periodically
5. Check your bill carefully and report any unscheduled charges immediately