Millions of gamers have been tricked into downloading fake Minecraft Android apps that run ads in the background, earning serious profit for the developers.
Cybersecurity researchers from McAfee recently discovered 38 games posing as Minecraft for the Android platform, running adverts in the background without user knowledge, or consent.
Of the 38 games, the most popular ones are Block Box Master Diamond (10 million downloads), Craft Sword Mini Fun (5 million), Block Box Skyland Sword (5 million), and Craft Monster Crazy Sword (5 million).
Games play as advertised
Block Pro Forrest Diamond, Block Game Skyland Forrest, Block Rainbow Sword Dragon, Craft Rainbow Mini Builder, and Block Forrest Tree Crazy all have one million downloads each. They were all found on the Google Play Store, and not on third-party, or obscure repositories.
Aside from the smartphone heating up, or performing somewhat slower than what one might expect, there is no way for the user to actually know they’re being served ads, the researchers said. Yet, even these two symptoms might be written off as normal behavior when running a mobile game. To make matters even more difficult - the apps all perform as advertised - the users actually get to play the game.
Most victims were located either in the United States, or China, the researchers say. Brazil, Iran, the UK, and Germany, were also bigger victims.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world, today. It’s a sandbox game that allows players to gather resources and create their own environment. There are two modes in the game, a survival mode in which players are required to gather resources, build the world and survive against hostile mobs, and a creative mode in which players get all the resources they need to build whatever they imagine.
Minecraft is currently the best-selling video game of all time, with 238 million copies sold. According to ActivePlayer, it has more than 170 million monthly active players.
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