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Beware: Viruses hidden in 'Minecraft' apps

Beware: Viruses hidden in 'Minecraft' apps
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My son Ian is a huge fan of Minecraft, and I am, too. Just look at all the great skills it teaches our kids. But, there's something I must warn you about. Minecraft players could be prime targets for viruses and malware.

Over in the Google Play Store, thousands of kids are downloading third-party apps that are loaded with tips and tricks, even cheats, on how to master Minecraft. The problem is that some of these apps are actually dangerous malware that's being called "scareware."

Scareware is essentially a bogus anti-virus program that tricks users to download vuruses, thinking they will be preventing it. So far, more than 600,000 Minecraft players have downloaded the scareware.

Slovakian online security consultants ESET found an astonishing 30 rouge apps in the Google Play Store over the last nine months:

All of the discovered apps were fake, in that they did not contain any of the promised functionality and only displayed banners that tried to trick users into believing that their Android system is infected with a “dangerous virus”. Users were then directed to remove viruses by activating a premium-rate SMS subscription that would cost them 4.80 EUR per week.

The company says the malware apps are disguised as game "cheats" that players might be enticed to download and install to get an advantage in the Mincraft game. Though the apps had dozens of different titles and icons, they were all basically the same app.

Here is a screen shot of some of the apps ESET identified and deleted as scareware malware apps.

Minecraft scareware

After ESET notified Google of the offending apps, Google dropped them from the Play Store. But with a million apps in Google's store, it is not hard to imagine that clever hackers will figure out a way to get new versions back in the store for unsuspecting players.

Bottom line, you need to make sure you read the reviews on any apps before you let the kiddos download anything. Watch this clip from my show to find out how to protect your computer, tablet and phone from malware hidden in "Minecraft" apps.

If you know anyone who plays the popular computer game "Minecraft," you need to warn them about this! They could be prime targets for viruses and malware.

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