China removes thousands of malicious mobile apps in campaign against fraud

China removes thousands of malicious mobile apps in campaign against fraud

China's internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has decided to shut down thousands of malicious apps that masquerade as major brands and government agencies and defraud users.

"Since the beginning of this year, the CAC Anti-Fraud Center has investigated and cracked down on 42.000 counterfeit apps," the organization said in its announcement.

This brings the total number of banned apps to 514.000, while the number of blocked websites now exceeds 3,8 million, The Register reports.

Malicious apps

In most cases, the scammers posed as major brands like JD. Sometimes the apps tricked victims into buying products at a lower price than available elsewhere, and sometimes advertised incredible investment opportunities. In other cases, they simply infect victims with malware (Opens in a new tab).

Each time, however, it ended the same way: the victims lost their money. The CAC says that people lost between €1,500 and €60,000 as a result of these schemes.

Users are advised to only download apps to their terminals (opens in a new tab) from official sources and to verify all identities before sending money or attempting to purchase anything, either.

According to The Register report, the Chinese government has zero tolerance for crime and corruption, but that hasn't stopped scammers from engaging in illegal activities. Of all the different types of fraud, phone and email fraud are the most common.

In 2019, for example, the popular Chinese Android app VidMate was found to secretly hijack people's smartphones to use extra data, incur unwanted charges, and collect personal information. The app has had over 500 million downloads.

Hidden in-app software displayed invisible ads, generated fake clicks and purchases, installed rogue apps without consent, and collected user data. In addition, it depleted users' data allotment, leading to unwanted additional charges.

Via: The Registry (Opens in a new tab)