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Beware malware posing as beta versions of legitimate apps

29.08.2023
45

The FBI has issued a cautionary message highlighting the rise of cybercriminals using fake beta versions of popular apps to deceive users and carry out fraudulent activities. These criminals often target individuals through dating sites and social media platforms, offering enticing rewards like large financial gains.

Beta versions of apps are usually pre-release versions undergoing final testing. Legitimate developers use them to engage users in refining their apps and providing early access to new features. However, cybercriminals are exploiting this concept, tricking victims into downloading apps from unsafe sources outside official app stores by disguising them as "beta-testing" versions.

To make these fake apps appear genuine, cybercriminals use familiar names, images, and descriptions similar to well-known apps. Concealed within these counterfeit apps is malicious code designed to compromise devices and steal personal information or financial data. According to the FBI, this malicious software can enable identity theft, unauthorised access to financial accounts, and even total control of devices.

The FBI has identified instances where victims are instructed to download mobile beta-testing apps, particularly ones pretending to be cryptocurrency exchanges. However, these fake apps aren't designed for investing; they steal users' money instead.

The FBI also warns against cryptocurrency recovery service scams. Scammers claim to help individuals recover lost funds from fraud or scams, by advertising their services online. They often charge an upfront fee, but either disappear after getting paid or provide incomplete information while demanding more fees.

To protect yourself from such threats, the FBI provides the following advice:

  • only download beta-testing apps from trusted developers with a network protected with a VPN service
  • avoid making payments to people you only know online, even if you feel you have a connection
  • refrain from sharing personal or financial information through email or messages, and don't click on suspicious links
  • be cautious when downloading unfamiliar apps for investment purposes. Verify their legitimacy and guide your network with Hide Expert VPN
  • be sceptical of cryptocurrency recovery service advertisements. Research the company thoroughly and be wary of vague promises and minimal online presence.

The FBI emphasises that law enforcement doesn't charge victims for investigations. If someone claims to be affiliated with the FBI, verify their status by contacting your local FBI field office. Take charge of your operating system by reading this article to get simple tips on how to mitigate cyberattacks.

In today's digital landscape, staying safe requires vigilance and scepticism. By following these guidelines and installing a hide VPN, users can better protect themselves from evolving cyber threats.