Windows Store Plagued By More Than 100 ‘Fake’ Apps, Reports Claim

You may want to think twice before installing Twitter or Google Drive for Windows 8. New reports indicate that more than 100 deceptive apps posing as popular games and applications have been discovered in the Windows Store.

A handful of Windows Store certified apps, some of which cost upwards of $4.99, appear as well-known apps by tacking on the phrase “How to use” at the end of the title. The impostor apps were first discovered by Windows blog WinBeta by searching for the phrase “how to use.” In most cases, this phrase doesn't appear in the app preview or overview, making it easy for publishers to scam unaware Windows users. A closer look at some of these apps reveals the sketchy names behind their publishers, such as Hot Girl, Angry Birds Pro and Facebook Pro among others.

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If you look closely at the phony Google Chrome screenshot above, you’ll notice that the publisher of the app is “Angry Birds Pro.” Even in the app overview, the full name of the application isn’t visible, making it look as if the app is called "Google Chrome Web Browser for Windows 8." In addition to third-party apps, phony versions of Microsoft’s OneNote, Publisher and Word have also been discovered in the Windows Store. 

This isn’t the first time such a problem has weaseled its way into an app store, but it illustrates that this is an issue affecting multiple platforms. At the end of 2012, a slew of impostor Android apps were discovered in the Google Play store posing as apps such as “Temple Run” and “Glu Mobile.” Last year Apple booted a bunch of similar app rip-offs from its App Store as well, which included phony titles such as “Temple Jump” and “Tiny Birds.”

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and is currently investigating the issue, according to The Next Web.

“We are aware of the issue and are actively removing apps that offer little value or confuse customers, and will continue evaluating our submission process to make sure Windows offers the highest quality app catalog available,” Microsoft said in a statement to the website.

The discovery of these fake Windows 8 apps comes just after Microsoft announced its new security policy for store apps. Developers are now required fix security vulnerabilities in their apps within 180 days or risk getting pulled from the Windows Store. 

Lisa Eadicicco
LAPTOP Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.