Security and privacy product manufacturer Avast has released a report about some of the Minecraft-related apps launching on the Play Store. These apps usually promise to provide some kind of Minecraft-related content but were not released by Mojang.
These malicious Minecraft-related apps promise to provide players with free content, guides, or even the game itself. However, many of these apps are known as “fleece ware.” They claim to offer players new skins, wallpapers, mods, and more but may trick users into paying hundreds per month and not provide the content it promises.
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Avast calls “fleeceware” a new category of cybercrime. Players download the app because they are promised Minecraft-related content. Players are lured in because of a free trial period for a few days. After the free trial is up, the player has to manually cancel the subscription, but if a player is young, they may not know to do this vital step, but this is exactly what the fraudsters want.
The app creator then automatically begins the paid subscription at a high cost, with some of these shady Minecraft apps charging users $30 a week. Some of these apps have decent reviews, some with five-star ratings, which lull users into a false sense of security. Then the real railings for one-stars are ignored because the five-star reviews trick the player into downloading the app.
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Avast stated that it has reported the misleading apps to Google, but the company has not removed them. More apps appear on the Play Store every week, so it may be difficult for the company to catch up.
Avast reported the following Minecraft related apps to Google: Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft, Maps, Skins, and Mods for Minecraft, MasterCraft for MineCraft, plus Boys and Girls Skins all have over one million downloads each and costs $30 a week after the trial period. Avast also reported Skins for Roblox plus Live Wallpapers HD and 3D Background.
Avast further commented about the malicious Minecraft apps. Ondrej David, malware analysis team lead at Avast, stated:
Scams of this nature take advantage of those who don’t always read the fine print details of every app they download. In this case, young children are particularly at risk because they may think they are innocently downloading a Minecraft accessory, but not understand or may not pay attention to the details of the service to which they are subscribing.
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Players should review any app before reviewing it. Mojang does have official Minecraft apps on iOS and Android, so players should not fall for fake or misleading Minecraft-related apps.