Google’s Play Store recently came under scrutiny after reports emerged that it was hosting an Ethereum scam application.
For years now, the cryptocurrency industry has been synonymous with unmatched creativity. As much as this has led to the development of unique products, projects, and services – unfortunately near-ingenious scams related to cryptocurrency have also emerged in the same breath. The latest was seen recently through an alarm by Lucas Stefanko, a European cybersecurity researcher who warned crypto enthusiasts of a new scam app that mimics Ethereum on Android Google Play.
— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) August 21, 2018
Stefanko notes that the scam is merely an app, but one that costs €335 (~£300 or ~$390) and portrays itself as “Ethereum”. Apparently, those who purchased this app got nothing more than just the classic Ethereum Logo complete with its minimalistic features, sharp vectors, and dark aesthetics. Similar to an earlier app that fooled rich people into paying ~£1,000… just to prove they were rich.
Interestingly, during the app’s one-year lifespan on Google Play, it had managed over 100 installs, earning more than $39,000 before being shut down. Presumably, these unsuspecting buyers may have been tricked by the 22 reviews (most likely doctored) on the app that gave it a comfortable rating of 4/5 stars. This was made worse by the apparent firm behind the app dubbed “Google Commerce LTD”. By including Google Commerce in its name, The Next Web has speculated that this may have plaid a major role in helping the scammers get the app listed on Google Play.
Fortunately, the app has since been removed from the Play Store but the details are still grey in terms of who is behind the app or even the identity of the unsuspecting buyers. The decision to remove the app is most likely in response to the alarm from Stefanko.
We expect this comes on the backdrop of the recent effort by Google to scrap off crypto mining apps. However, this is yet to bear much fruit as most of these mining apps, both new and old are still available on the Play Store. This latest development has tainted Google’s Android brainchild – something that has always been credited as the most secure from scam apps.