Bogus “Battery Upgrade” Apps


Ads that are promoting battery-saver apps for Android are bogus and security experts say the programs are really designed to steal your data or your money.

Users of Android devices are starting to see sleazy ads warning that they need to upgrade their device’s battery. The supposed battery-saver apps that those ads prod you to download, however, could endanger your privacy or siphon money from your wallet–and generally they’ll do nothing to improve your gadget’s battery life.

In some cases you don’t even have to agree to accept the app for it to do its damage. PCWorld saw one ad called Battery Upgrade that launched the ad just by tapping it, even by accident. This automatically initiated the app download and installed it on the Android device. Why is this app successful? According to Andrew Brandt, director of threat research for Solera Networks, they tap into a common anxiety, phone users are not yet concerned about viruses on their phones, but they are worried about their battery being sucked dry.

Be very careful not to upload either apps called Battery Doctor or Battery Upgrade, both of these can be very problematic. These apps do not upgrade or extend a charge but they will harvests the phones address book, the phone number, the users name and email address, and the phone’s unique identifying IMEI number. With this info the attacker can clone the phone and intercept calls and SMS messages, siphon money from a user by initiating premium calls and SMS services.

Andrew Brandt states: “There is no question in my mind that this technique could be used for something far more sinister than a worthless battery app.”

Want to save yourself some aggravation, plug your phone into the wall socket and recharge your phone that way.

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