There Are 152 Fake Reliance Jio Android Apps On Google Play Store

Vaibhav Kapadia - Aug 03, 2019


There Are 152 Fake Reliance Jio Android Apps On Google Play Store

According to Symantec, a cybersecurity company has found out 152 Android apps on Google Play have masqueraded as Reliance Jo apps to earn money from users.

Since 2016 when Reliance Jio launched the commercial mobile telephony, it has turned into the largest firm in India. Many people have considered the brand a data-first network in the country. Since its debut, the operator has offered users with free data, resulting in the intense increase in the consumption of mobile data. However, the success of Reliance Jio has also caused a number of phishing and spam applications to rise greatly. Symantec, a cybersecurity firm, has detected 152 Android apps masquerading as apps from Reliance Jio.

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152 Android apps on Google Play pretend to be Reliance Jo apps

These apps are found to have 21 different package names that claim to provide users with 25GB of free data every day. Additionally, there were other packages providing users with 125GB data that can be valid within one year. The purpose of such claims was to help the developers of these apps to earn financial benefits from advertisements. The security firm also pointed out that more than 39,000 users installed these apps for their smartphones in the first half of 2019. Despite their attractive offerings, these apps have some commonalities and aimed to take advantage of users.

The similarity between App UI and icons and Reliance Jio

According to the researchers, these apps' logos are like MyJio app's logo. In addition, the names of these apps, such as Jio Prime and Jio 4G offers, also bear a great resemblance to the original app’s name. Consequently, as discovered by the researchers, users were tricked to install them. Besides similar names and logos, these apps also resemble the UI of the original app.

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Similarities between the original app and the fake app

False progress

Fake apps also attempt to make as if they are offering their users free data. After downloading these apps from the Google Play Store, users will be asked to provide their phone numbers in order to activate the free data program. As claimed by MediaNama, researchers from Symantec noticed that despite using a false number, the app still lead to a screen showing that it is connecting to Jio users. The source code of this app unveils the truth that the processing or connection wasn’t really happening. The developers have attached a sleep timer to these apps to prolong the period that users have to stay at this screen. After a short period, the apps sent users a message claiming the eligibility of their number for the offer of free data. They have succeeded in making users believe that they’re receiving Reliance on Jo’s free data.

The sharing of the app

Furthermore, users are asked to share the apps with 10 of their contacts on WhatsApp. The act of sharing needs to be done for the activation process to continue. They even ask users to follow the Telegram or Instagram account of the developers. At the same time, some apps were discovered to send contacts of users messages that contain a link leading people to the fake app.

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Users are required to share the fake apps with their contacts on WhatsApp

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The true purpose behind the trickery of these apps is to make money. Their financial benefits are mainly from advertisements where people have to click to receive the offer. Some apps reportedly opened web pages of the adds. What’s more, some apps were even found ceaselessly opening advertisement web-pages, which results in web pages forming into a loop.

Malicious apps and the affinity of Play Store

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Google Play Store has housed many malicious apps

Google Play Store has turned into a home for counterfeit and malicious applications including those developed to make advertising revenue. Last month, cybersecurity research that lasted for two years discovered that Play Store had more than 2,040 malicious apps. In February, 57 counterfeit apps were deleted by Google after being highlighted by Quick Heal.

Lukas Stefanko, a malware researcher, found out fifteen GPS-based applications on Google Play that trick Android users to make money. Last week, researchers discovered that even when there was no permission, more than 1,300 apps on Android system still gathered location data. Google officers affirmed that this issue will be fixed with the release of Android Q in the second half of 2019. Sooner or later, Google will have to find a solution to these systemic issues.

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