This popular Android app tricks you into making money for fraudsters — delete it ASAP

Malware phone
Watch out for this Android app! (Image credit: Getty Images/id-work)

If it's too good to be true, it probably is! In case you missed it, Dr. Web anti-virus published a report on Friday revealing several malicious entries it discovered inside the Google Play Store in October.

One threat that caught our eye, however, is a gnarly app that tricked users into thinking they could make money by watching videos and advertisements. It attracted a whopping one million downloads on the Google Play Store, but the truth is, the app is designed to make cybercriminals money on the backs of victims' time and effort.

Delete 'TubeBox' now

Dr. Web anti-virus discovered a handful of nasty apps on Google Play, including Fast Cleaner & Cooling Master (a trojan masquerading as a performance booster), Volume, Music Equalizer (adware pretending to be an audio app), and Bluetooth & Wi-Fi & USB driver (adware posing as a Bluetooth connection enhancer).

The most sinister app among Dr. Web's threat discoveries, however, is the TubeBox app, which, as mentioned, amassed more than one million downloads. It claims that users can earn money by watching videos and advertisements. For each view, users collect a "reward" (i.e., coins and coupons). After collecting enough rewards, the app claimed that they could be converted into real money via bank transfer and other payment systems.

TubeBox

TubeBox (Image credit: Future)

But here's the kicker! When users tried to cash out their rewards, they suspiciously faced hindrances due to certain "problems" reported by the program. "The creators of the app tried to string their victims along for as long as possible so that they could continue watching videos and ads, earning money not for themselves, but the fraudsters," Dr. Web said.

In other words, the malicious actors threw users off their scent by putting roadblocks in the redemption process that deceptively seemed like temporary errors. TubeBox users could have spent hours watching videos thinking that their efforts would be rewarded with real cash, but little did they know that they were actually earning money for cybercriminals. Ouch! 

When BleepingComputer checked to see if TubeBox was in the Google Play Store on Dec. 4, it was still there, but as of this writing, it was removed from the Android app store.

Before downloading any app, make sure to pore over the reviews to see if anything raises your antenna (watch out for fake comments, too). Don't forget to check out our best mobile antivirus apps (opens in new tab) page to protect your phone from the shadowy corners of the Google Play Store.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!