Scam ‘Updates for Samsung’ app pulled from the Google Play Store

by Brett Harper

Last week, a document from the CSIS Security Group pointed ZDNet (and the rest of us) to a completely shady app at the Google Play Store called “Updates for Samsung.” It provided to offer gadget-level Android updates to phones — and, in fact, it did redistribute Samsung’s software program, though it was basically a rip-off to get you to pay money for stated updates.

Today, once we inquired, Google instructed The Verge that the app violated its policies and has been “suspended.” It is uncertain what specific policy Google stated and whilst it has become aware of the app. Last week, the developer of the app, Updato, claimed to BleepingComputer that it was pulling the app to “dispose of the firmware provider component and non-Google bills,” though it defended the app as a “convenience to our audience.”

In a statement, Google stated that “Providing a secure and at ease experience is pinnacle precedence and our Google Play developer policies strictly limit apps which are misleading, malicious, or intended to abuse or misuse any network, tool, or non-public records. When violations are located, we take action.”
The app had racked up extra than 10 million downloads, in line with Google Play’s counter. That doesn’t necessarily imply 10 million human beings had been duped, but. The app’s user score changed into weirdly excessive for a scam (almost 4 stars), so it’s viable that in addition to trying to scam money from users, it changed into additionally gaming the Google Play Store’s analytics. On the opposite hand, the app has been around for more than six years, so a few big ranges of people have hooked up it.

The app preyed on users’ choice to get OS-level updates for Samsung Android phones, something that typically takes longer than users would like. CSIS’s Aleksejs Kuprins informed ZDNet that a “consumer can experience a bit misplaced about the [system] update method. Hence [they] could make a mistake of going to the legitimate utility save to look for gadget update.”
It is certainly a mistake however now not an unreasonable one. The app’s creators basically took gain of the frustration many Android customers feel about anticipating updates. Even if that 10 million downloads quantity isn’t everywhere near accurate, it’s still quite awful that Google didn’t appear to recognize approximately the rip-off until it surfaced in media reports an ultimate week.

As 9to5Google mentioned ultimate week, the Updates for Samsung app did have a “download firmware” segment, however it driven users to pay a subscription price with the aid of throttling those downloads — which, again, had been in all likelihood being redistributed illegally and were useless in the first vicinity due to the fact Samsung distributes updates for its telephones freed from price. Technically, it isn’t malware, but it’s miles scammy.

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