Hundreds of fleeceware apps earn dubious iOS, Android developers over $400 million

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Aug 17, 2014
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Researchers have discovered hundreds of fleeceware mobile apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store that are earning their developers millions of dollars.

While stalkerware, spyware, and malvertising apps infect devices for spying, data theft, and in order to bombard users with ads to generate fraudulent revenue, fleeceware apps attempt to lure handset owners to download software before charging them extortionate 'subscription' fees.

Often enticed with 'free' trials, users will then be overcharged to use the app, which in some cases can reach upward of $3,000 per year.

Software subscriptions, such as for professional services, enterprise solutions, and creative platforms can be expensive -- but unlike these legitimate offerings, there is generally nothing special about fleeceware.

Developers rake in the proceeds from their creations, and while not illegal, it can be hard for users to figure out how to escape subscription charges -- and it appears this method of generating app revenue continues to rise in popularity.

This week, Avast researchers said they have found a total of 204 fleeceware apps on both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store.
A total of 134 apps have been found on Apple's iOS platform with an estimated 500 million downloads and projected revenues of $365 million.
 
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