Child discovers $ 500,000 app scheme

A child from the Czech Republic helped Avast experts dismantle an app scam that moved around $ 500,000 from selling inappropriate ads. Distributed on Android and iOS, the apps in question totaled about 2.4 million downloads.

A girl whose age was not revealed ran into the scheme while browsing TikTok and seeing a campaign that looked suspicious. The Czech Republic has a program called Be Safe Online, which educates children about web safety and offers a tool for reporting possible scams.

A child's report led Avast to malicious appsA child’s report led Avast to malicious appsSource: Avast

Avast experts received the complaint from the child and, investigating the scheme, discovered 11 malicious apps that were advertised through Instagram and TikTok. One of the profiles used for advertising had more than 300,000 followers, according to the security company.

The apps disguised themselves as entertainment tools, including wallpaper manager and music download app. After installation, however, the software improperly displayed ads on the cell phone and even hid the icon to divert the user’s attention.

Malicious apps were reported by TikTok and InstagramMalicious apps were reported by TikTok and InstagramSource: CNET

Avast warned Google and Apple about the presence of malicious apps in their stores and, according to the Ars Technica, the software has already started to be taken down on both platforms. The security company also denounced the scheme’s disclosure profiles for TikTok and Instagram.

In a statement, Avast thanked the child who served as the starting point for the investigation. “We are grateful to the young woman who told us about TikTok’s profile, her conscience and responsible action is the kind of commitment we all must have to make the cyber world a safer place.”

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