Apps downloaded 787,000 times make undue charges from users

Aplikasi yang diunduh 787.000 kali membuat biaya yang tidak semestinya dari pengguna

Three fraudulent apps of the type fleeceware were found for download from the App Store. The discovery was announced on Friday (5) by Avast, a company of digital security and privacy products. This type of program surprises users with improper charges of high value after the free trial period. According to the company, 787 thousand people had their iPhones (iOS) affected.

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The applications in question are Beetle VPN, Buckler VPN and Hat VPN Pro. They all offer VPN service and charge a subscription of US $ 9.99 per week (R $ 49.70, in direct conversion), promising three days of testing free. However, the tools do not provide the connections and carry out weekly charges normally, if the user does not cancel the subscription. In consultation on Friday (5), the three programs were still available for download on the App Store.

1 of 2 Programs are still available on the App Store – Photo: Marvin Costa / dnetc

Programs are still available on the App Store – Photo: Marvin Costa / dnetc

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When trying to use the VPN in any of the three apps, the user is directed to a page that requests a new subscription. When you risk signing up again, you are informed that you already have a registration, and for this reason, you will not be able to complete the connection. If the victim does not cancel the account, the victim will continue to be charged weekly.

The programs are rated between 4.6 and 4.8 on the App Store, and display similarly written reviews, mostly with praise, which Avast considers potentially false. The privacy policies of the three services also have a very similar structure. The report also points out that the fees charged for the service offered by the app are much higher than those requested by trusted VPNs.

According to the app consultancy Sensor Tower, by May, Beetle VPN had accumulated 420 thousand downloads, Buckler VPN, 271 thousand, and Hat VPN Pro, 96 thousand. One of the factors behind the large number of downloads would be the increase in remote work caused by the quarantine. According to experts, many people may be turning to VPNs to protect their data while accessing online platforms in the period.

Identifying fleecewares is difficult because they are not considered virus-spreading apps and can be cloaked in apps of any kind. However, they can charge users absurd amounts on weekly, monthly or annual subscriptions to services that can be free on other, more famous tools.

When downloading unfamiliar apps, make sure that the page has only enthusiastic and artificial comments, and be on the lookout if you find negative reviews that indicate abuse or any type of fraud. In such cases, most comments reveal that the app does not work or charges money improperly.

Another way to trick the user is to request bank details even before the free trial period. When providing your payment information for testing, make sure that charges were not made at that time, and check the amounts charged after the trial period.

2 of 2 See all app signatures in iPhone settings – Photo: Reproduction / Rodrigo Fernandes

See all application signatures in iPhone settings – Photo: Reproduction / Rodrigo Fernandes

On the iPhone, you can view all subscriptions made on the device and the respective future payment dates by going to Settings> Apple ID> Subscriptions. In the same way, it is possible to cancel charges for any application.

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