In a recent finding, Avast has discovered a total of seven adware scam apps doing rounds on TikTok. The AntiVirus company also notes that they are all available on both the Google Play and Apple App Stores.
TikTok Scam Apps
The apps have been downloaded more than 2.4 million times. They also note that the creators have earned their at least KES 50,000,000. Jakub Vávra, threat analyst at Avast, says.
“The apps are scams and violate both Google’s and Apple’s app policies. They do this by either making misleading claims around app functionalities or serving ads outside of the app and hiding the original app icon”.
The malicious apps, which all seem to be developed by the same person or group were:
- ThemeZone – Shawky App Free – Shock My Friends (Android)
- Tap Roulette ++Shock my Friend (Android)
- Ultimate Music Downloader – Free Download Music (Android)
- Shock My Friends – Satuna (iOS)
- 666 Time (iOS)
- ThemeZone – Live Wallpapers (iOS)
- shock my friend tap roulette v (iOS)
Avast has reported the apps to Apple and Google and the accounts to TikTok and Instagram.
Promotion on Social Media by Influencers
The Avast team found at least three profiles that are aggressively pushing the apps on TikTok. One of which has more than 300K followers. They also found an Instagram profile with more than 5,000 followers promoting one of the apps.
The apps are specifically targeted to young people, in the form of games, wallpaper, and music downloaders. The scams come in the form of either charging KES 200 to KES 1,000 for a service that doesn’t meet that price point.
The services include causing the phone to vibrate, a wallpaper, or access to music — or in the form of aggressive ads.
Tips For Next Time
Most apps ask for permissions that do not make sense. Like your Bible asking for you contacts.
So rather than just tapping “Allow,” the next time a new app asks for certain permissions, take a minute to think about whether or not it really needs that access.
Weather apps do not need to access your microphone. Does a wallpaper app need to access your storage? That’s a sign the app is probably a scam. Be careful