Cybersecurity company Avast found out more than 200 fraudulent fleeceware apps with hidden subscriptions or excessive subscription fees on the App Store and Google Play.
Fleeceware applications always offer a free trial period, but if the user is not attentive enough, these apps later begin to withdraw money even after deletion. Sometimes these amounts go up to $3,000 per year.
Even though the developers of fleeceware do nothing bad in terms of law, in some cases, the owners of a mobile device simply do not know how to unsubscribe from recurring payments.
SensorTower estimated that such apps had been downloaded more than 1 billion times and have generated over $400 million in revenue. The OS versions of the software have been downloaded 500 million times in total, bringing developers $365 million. With the same number of downloads on Google Play, the amount earned by developers was $38,500.
The Avast research points to the following categories of apps as being most prone to fleeceware:
- Musical instrument apps
- Palm readers
- Image editors
- Camera filters
- Fortune tellers
- QR code and PDF readers
- Slime simulators
Avast also gives some tips on how to avoid fleeceware scams:
- Be careful with free trials of less than a week;
- Read the fine print;
- Be skeptical of viral advertisements;
- Shop around;
- Secure your payments;
- Discuss the dangers of fleeceware with your family.