These Google Play Store apps are scamming cryptocurrency investors, making them believe that they could mine the digital money on their smartphones. 

Google Play Store Apps Scam Crytocurrency Investors Rookies — Free Mining on Smartphones for a Fee
(Photo : by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BRAZIL - 2021/05/11: In this photo illustration the Android logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen.

Tons of fake crypto mining applications are now infiltrating the official application marketplace of Google. 

The steep rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and its similar counterparts have also birthed scams fooling wannabe investors. 

Elsewhere, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, even sued YouTube after scammers used his photo in a Bitcoin giveaway. However, he lost his case later on. The court said that tech companies are freed from being sued for the content that was uploaded on their platform.

Notably, usual crypto schemes involve malware or hacking digital wallets.

However, the latest scam that was brought to light by the security researchers of Lookout sits unnoticed on the Google Play Store. 

Crypto Scam

Lookout examined a total of 170 apps, which mines cryptocurrency on the cloud in exchange for some money, as per CyberScoop

According to the researchers, some crypto mining apps even asked for the fee through Bitcoin and Ethereum. Lookout noted that it is against the terms and conditions that the Google Play Store implements. 

In estimate, the criminal minds have numerous victims, accounting for more than 93,000 users. The profits that the fraud apps have also pocketed have reached a whopping $350,000. 

Crypto Scam: 25 Google Play Store Apps 

Lookout identified two Android app code families, which the security firm called BitScam and CloudScam. 

Out of the 170 apps that were involved in the fraudulent activity, about 25 of them were found from the Google Play Store. The rest are sideloaded to the Android devices from sketchy third-party sources. 

After Lookout flagged the said apps on the Google marketplace, the tech giant has removed them to protect other Android users. 

Read Also:  Cryptocurrency 'Scheme' Revealed | Are All Cryptocurrencies Legit?

Crypto Scam Apps: How Do They Work?

According to Lookout's blog post, the apps that they examined never really mined any crypto. The users of the service had a hard time noticing the scheme as the mining process is supposedly happening via the cloud. 

Lookout further said that these types of schemes are hardly noticed as the apps are technically not doing anything malicious that could kick them out from the Google Play Store. 

In fact, the said apps only do one thing: to accept payments from their users, nothing else beyond that. 

The Director of Security Intelligence Research of Lookout, Christoph Hebeisen said that "the apps themselves are really essentially empty shells with what look like purchasing functionalities." 

Previously, tons of applications on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store have also taken advantage of rookie investors of cryptocurrencies. However, the past scheme involves wiping out the wallets of the users. 

This time around, though, there is nothing to steal as the promised mining activity is a complete illusion. 

Related Article: Crypto Miners to Pay Higher Rates for Electricity in Kazakhstan | 'Negative Impact on Investment Attractiveness'

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Written by Teejay Boris

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