Black Friday is when you hear about every deal that sounds too good to be true, and that’s usually with good reason. Now there’s an app out there claiming to give you early access to all those amazing Amazon Black Friday deals before everyone else. The makes definitely knew how to hit that sweet spot we all have of wanting to be the first, but beware of this Android app. It is not at all what it claims to be and could wind up costing you some major headaches along with lessening your cash flow.
The security firm Zscaler Research first discovered the app, which the company says is designed to steal your personal information. When installed, the app apes the look of the Amazon icon to really sell the con.
Zscaler reports that once you open the app, it will launch a completely different app called (com android engine). It will then ask you to grant the malware a slew of special permissions, including the ability to see your text messages, call logs, and contact information, as well as to send texts and make calls. It can even view your Web browser’s history. We’ve grown so accustomed to apps requesting that, it become instinctual to just hit ‘okay’, but that’s where all your headaches and holiday misery will begin.
Here’s where it gets bad for you. Even if you delete the fake Amazon app, the secondary app will stay hidden on your device until you find and delete it, which can be tricky since it doesn’t have an app icon.
Zscaler doesn’t say what the information the app is collecting could be used for, though apps of this nature can be designed to hold your data for ransom.
The biggest thing to remember about apps like this is that they have to be downloaded from a third-party URL, not the Google Play Store. And to even install the app, you have to allow third-party app installations in the Android Settings menu. So getting this thing on your phone isn’t exactly as easy as downloading your Facebook app.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that Amazon offers its own Underground app that you have to install in much the same way as this phony app. Amazon’s offering, though, provides you with free apps and games and doesn’t steal your information.
It’s obvious that the malicious app’s makers are targeting Amazon users who are familiar with the Amazon Underground app but may not be savvy enough to tell the difference between it and the malware.