More fake antivirus programs found in Google Play, Windows Phone Store

Mobile app stores lack the necessary mechanisms to prevent such scams, researchers from Kaspersky Lab said

Last month Google offered refunds to users who bought a fake antivirus app from Google Play, but the scam seems to be catching on and security researchers have recently identified similar apps in both the Android and Windows Phone app stores.

Malware analysts from Kaspersky Lab found a fake app called Kaspersky Mobile in the Windows Phone Store, which is unusual because cybercriminals tend to target Google Play and because Kaspersky doesn't even make an antivirus product for Windows Phone.

The fake app, which was available for 149 rubles or around US$4, used Kaspersky's logo and other branding elements and even pretended to scan files when run, said Roman Unuchek, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab in a blog post Thursday.

Kaspersky Lab was not the only brand abused by the people behind this scam. The same developer account had created fake apps using the names and logos of other popular programs, including Avira Antivirus, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera Mobile, Internet Explorer and Safari.

One of the developer's fake Windows Phone apps used the same name as a fake antivirus app found in Google Play in April -- Virus Shield.

Despite costing $3.99 and doing nothing to protect devices, the Android version of the app was downloaded over 10,000 times and made it into several "top paid" lists before being identified as a fraud. Google removed the application and offered refunds to affected users, as well as $5 in store credit.

The researchers also identified a Kaspersky-branded fake app in Google Play using the name Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014. The app's description was copied from the official Google Play page for Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, one of the company's legitimate products.

The app's creators didn't even bother to add a scan simulation to the application, Unuchek said.

"It is quite possible that more and more of these fake apps will start appearing," he said. "One thing is for sure -- the mechanisms put in place by the official stores are clearly unable to combat scams like this."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesecuritymobile securityscamsmalwarekaspersky labfraud

More about AviraGoogleKasperskyKasperskyMozilla

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place