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Android gamers have been warned to be wary of Grand Theft Auto V’s official “partner” app – Grand Theft Auto iFruit – after a slew of fake, malicious apps appeared online in advance of the real version.
The app, available now on iPhone, allows gamers to customise cars, and interact with a virtual pet – and several versions duly popped up on Google’s Play Store around GTA V’s launch date, according to a report by Destructoid. The problem, of course, was that they were fakes – released by cybercriminals to coincide with a demand. Rockstar had not released an Android version of the app.
Various versions of the fake app were removed from Google Play, but several remained in place over the weekend, with user reviews stating, “Do not install this,” or, “Fake”.
Gaming site Destructoid, which reported the “bad” apps, said, “With the immense and predictable popularity of GTA V, it’s not exactly surprising that there are some less than reputable characters that are looking to piggyback on its success. That’s the case with an imposter app that surfaced on the Android Marketplace.”
Rockstar says that an Android version is due shortly, stating that the app is, “Coming soon for Android devices via Google Play as well as for Windows Phone, PlayStation Mobile and Vita.”
The tactic is commonly used by cybercriminals for eagerly awaited apps, and in many cases used to serve useless apps filled with “adware.”
Earlier this year, cybercriminals cashed in on an internet rumor to fool 100,000 Android users into downloading a fake BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for Android.
The fake BBM app – masquerading as an eagerly awaited download, and released to coincide with a rumored release date – instead delivered adware. The app had been downloaded 100,000 times before Google removed it from Play Store, according to a report by CNET.
Spotting “bad” apps on Android is not always easy – with cybercriminals finding new tricks every month to fool phone and tablet users into downloading malware.
A detailed ESET guide on how to download and use apps safely on Android can be found here.
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security