We’re in the first month of a new year, and you know what that means. Tons of people are focusing on fitness and living a healthier lifestyle. Many turn to health-tracking apps for guidance. Unfortunately, some popular health trackers have been caught spreading adware.
Read on for a list of shady apps to avoid and a few suggestions to dodge malicious apps.
Here’s the backstory
A study a few years ago found that only 0.8% of all apps on the Google Play Store had malicious intent. That might seem negligible, but they can have devastating consequences for your data if you install one of them.
Others don’t necessarily go after your information but use shady methods to make the developers money. According to research from Dr. Web, several health and fitness apps on Google Play use this tactic.
The apps claim to be fitness trackers or step counters, and you can earn rewards for doing certain activities or hitting specific goals. That seems great, but problems soon arise when you want to cash out your earnings.
“The applications demanded that they watch dozens of advertising videos. They were then offered several dozen more ads to watch in order to ‘speed up’ the withdrawal process,” Dr. Web explains.
The apps make it nearly impossible to receive the compensation you are promised for hitting goals. In fact, the apps don’t ask for banking information to send payments. What’s really happening is app developers are getting paid for all the ads you are forced to watch.
Some of the apps mentioned in the report are:
- Lucky Step-Walking Tracker.
- Lucky Habit: health tracker.
A slew of apps also pose as investment applications or mobile games. After installation, these apps connect to a remote server for instructions on what information to steal.
Some of the apps mentioned include:
- Golden Hunt.
- Seven Golden Wolf blackjack.
- Unlimited Score.
- Big Decisions.
- Jewel Sea.
- Lux Fruits Game.
- Lucky Clover.
- King Blitz.
- Lucky Hammer.
What you can do about it
If you have any of these apps installed, you must remove them immediately. Here’s how to delete an app from your Android phone:
- Open the Google Play Store app.
- At the top right, tap the Profile icon.
- Tap Manage apps & devices > Manage.
- Tap the name of the app you want to delete.
- Lastly, tap Uninstall.
Some of the apps we’ve mentioned in this post act as adware. That’s a form of malware that bombards your device with ads. Here are some ways to prevent your device from being infected with malware.
- Turn on Google Play Protect by heading to Google Play Store > Profile > Play Protect > Settings and turn on Scan apps with Play Protect.
- Check your phone for security updates by going to Settings > System > System update.
- Read app reviews before installing. If an app is infecting devices with malware, there’s a good chance some users will leave negative reviews warning you.
- Watch out for apps that use a similar logo to other popular apps or have similar functions. Also, check reviews to see if others are warning about suspicious activity.
- Pay attention to permissions. Stay away if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications.
- Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!
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