Apple App Store and Google Play allegedly infested with crypto fraud apps
Sophos, a cybersecurity firm, has revealed that operators of high-yielding investment schemes known as ‘pig butchering’ have discovered a way to evade security measures in Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Sophos also revealed that the pig butchering is a grand scheme perpetrated by an organized Chinese-based threat group called “ShaZhuPan.”
The group’s scamming antics previously revolved around malicious advertising, social engineering, and fake websites, but it’s currently exploring Google Play, and Apple play store because the victim can easily trust the scammer using these platforms.
The scammers also target the victim’s social media accounts with a specific focus on Facebook and Tinder profiles; they usually try to convince their victims to download fake high dividends-yielding applications.
Adopting a psychological approach
On social media channels like Facebook and Tinder, scammers use fake flamboyant female Facebook profiles to target male users. The scammer’s profile most times portrays all shades of a luxurious lifestyle.
Once they have the victims’ trust, the scammers introduce themselves as relatives to certain bigshot financial research companies, then introduce the victim to its fake application on the play store or apple play store.
According to Sophos, the malicious apps used for the fraudulent act are MBM_BitScan and Ace Pro on the Apple App store and BitScan on Google Play Store.
How scammers bypass App store sign-up process
The ShaZhuPan gang usually submits an app signed with a valid certificate issued by Apple; once the app gets approval to be featured on the benign server and App store repository, the scammers will then connect it to a malicious server.
The victim sees a cryptocurrency trading interface when the app is launched on their phone due to the dictates from the malicious server. Except for the user’s deposit, everything shown on the app is fake.
Because the scammers are fleecing a small number of targeted victims, the negative reviews and reports for the malicious app aren’t getting the attention of the security protocols on the application store.
However, Sophos stated that more of such pig butchering schemes might come up because it gives scammers access to high yields in a short time, and victims mostly have a heightened sense of legitimacy attached to using apps on Google play stores.
Sophos added that it is essential always to check app reviews, developer details, company profiles, and privacy policies before downloading any application.