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It turns out that Apple’s App Store also suffers from deceptive “fleeceware” apps

Pay attention to what you are downloading.

person holding iphone at desk using facebook
Image: Unsplash

Fleeceware apps have been on the rise on the Play Store for quite a while now. What these apps do is basically advertise themselves as free applications, and once a user downloads them they request users to sign up for a free trial via a prompt.

Once the trial period is finished, the application will automatically charge the users for the paid subscription. This charge can be made even after the user uninstalls the application from their device, making the whole thing a bit confusing.

While many of us thought this was only a big issue with Google’s Play Store, that has proven to be untrue with reports from UK security firm Sophos surfacing that the Apple App Store contains these bogus applications as well. Even more surprising, over 3.5 million iOS users have installed these apps on their devices.

Sophos mobile malware analyst Jagadeesh Chandraiah states that “most of these fleeceware apps are image editors, horoscope/fortune-telling/palm readers, QR code/barcode scanners, and face filter apps for adding silly tweaks to selfies.”

fleeceware examples

Image: Sophos

Researchers have discovered 32 iOS apps that charge up to $30/month for features that you can usually find for free. Here’s the full list:

ios fleeceware apps

Image: Sophos

The company analyzed app reviews and that’s what made it pretty clear that the apps were heavily dependent on ads to drive traffic but failed to deliver the promised features correctly and at the end of the day also charged users when they didn’t follow the proper trial cancelation procedures.

These apps are still available on the App Store and if you’ve fallen as a victim to one of these applications its best to dive into the app to learn the proper cancellation techniques so you aren’t surprised with more payments in the months ahead.

Have you noticed any of these “fleeceware” apps on Apple’s App Store? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Murtaza is a Computer Science student who takes immense interest in mobile technology. He believes the future of computing lies in smartphones because ARM architecture will eventually take over. He also loves to tinker with ROMs and kernels keeping up with the latest in smartphones.

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