Android users, you’d do well to exercise a little caution – the Google Play app store has yet again fallen victim to a developer selling fake apps masquerading as the real thing.
The sham apps were created by a developer going by the name of ‘Premium App,’ and were slipped in under the guise of established and upcoming tech names, such as IFTTT, Fiver, Myspace, Slideshare, Upworthy, and Wolfram Alpha, among several others. Plus, to add insult to injury, a hefty number of the impostor apps are available on iOS but remain undeveloped for Android. They’re also sitting on the virtual shelves as paid apps, meaning it’s not just the risk of welcoming malware (and compromised security/ privacy settings) to your device that’ll cost you.
Developer name aside, another way of sorting the wheat from the chaff is the ‘U’ that appears next to some of the app names, suggesting that they’re simply ‘user’s guides’, instead of actual apps. If you come across one, it’s definitely worth your time to report it to Google, which doesn’t actively search for the knock- off apps themselves. Indeed, the Google Developer Distribution Agreement effectively absolves the search giant of responsibility, stating that the company: “does not undertake an obligation to monitor the Products or their content.”
On occasion, Google tackles spam apps en masse, running a large- scale cleanup, which, while effective in weeding out the nasty apps, might occasionally wipe out a legitimate app that’s been reported by sham developers to eliminate competition.