NEWS FROM THE LAB - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lame "SEO" Android Apps Claim To Be Antivirus Posted by Sean @ 17:03 GMT

On Sunday, Android Police (a popular news and review site) published a post on "Virus Shield" — an app which reached top ranking in Play, and yet, was a complete fraud. In a follow up, DailyTech did some digging and believes the app was written by a 17 year-old Texan. Apparently he's good at SEO.

Whether he's the guy or not… it fits the typical profile. A young person with good SEO skills pushing a rather useless app.

Virus Shield

Lame "SEO apps" are prevalent on Google Play. They're easy to find if you look.

For example:

  •  Best Antivirus Lite
  •  SAFE antivirus Limited
  •  Skulls Antivirus
  •  Shnarped Hockey antivirus lite

Best and SAFE link to one "developer" — while Skulls and Shnarped Hockey link to another.

Though there are two different developers… the apps are identical apart from their name. The apps appear to be based on a template (there are markets for app templates) and all the so-called developers have done is to add their own graphics.

Android apps: no developer skills required.

So what do the apps do?

Well, the "antivirus" open sa screen label "anti spyware".

Shnarped Hockey antivirus lite

Hmm, the terms changed. That ought to be a warning sign.

Click "Start Scan" and the app does a basic scan of permissions for installed apps. Apps with a large number of permissions are categorized as a risk and those with a low number of permissions are called safe. And if you want to see the details? Well, then you need to buy the "full" version of the app for about a buck. In our humble opinion, the folks who bought the full versions (more than one thousand) completely wasted their money.

Google Play: caveat emptor.

P.S. If you want an app that does an advanced scan of permissions and provides excellent details entirely FREE of charge…

Check out F-Secure App Permissions for Android.