Fans of Minecraft have been warned to exercise caution when downloading Android apps (opens in new tab) connected with the game after a flurry of security concerns.
Some of the apps have been downloaded from the Play Store over a million times, with many of the apps charging unsuspecting users $30 a week after a free trial period expires.
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Avast found that the malicious apps offer new skins, colorful wallpapers, or modifications for the game, but disproportionately charge users hundreds of dollars per month.
The company says it has reported seven of these apps to Google, but as of today, they are all still active. The suspect apps are Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft PE, Skins for Roblox, Live Wallpapers HD & 3D Background, MasterCraft for Minecraft, Master for Minecraft, Boys and Girls Skins and Maps Skins and Mods for Minecraft.
“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,” said Ondrej David, malware analysis team lead at Avast.
“We urge our customers to remain vigilant when downloading any app from unknown developers and to always carefully research user reviews and billing agreements before subscribing.”
The company added that if users think they have installed an app they suspect may be fleeceware, it is not enough to uninstall the app. Users also need to cancel the subscription directly through the Play Store, by accessing Menu in the upper left corner, then Subscription menu.
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