Security software maker and security research firm AVAST Software have found several soccer apps that they describe as "ad-overloaded, data-hungry apps." As fans get ready for the World Cup to get underway in Brazil, the offering of soccer-related apps on the Google Play store is big; there are at least 125 different vuvuzela apps available. But AVAST Software is warning those keen to download these apps that some of them are wolves in sheep's' clothing.
The firm says that "Corner Kick World Cup 2014" and "Free Kick Champion" are two apps that users should avoid. The fake gaming apps do nothing but display advertising to the user. The firm also notes that "Fifa 2014 Free – World Cup" and "Football World Cup 14" are apps that they describe as being in the "grey zone," because they collect data unrelated to the apps’ functionality.
"This is unfortunately a quite common and sneaky way for developers to make money," said Filip Chytry, anti-malware expert at AVAST. "With applications like this, the only person who benefits from them are the developers who receive money for each click on the ads displayed in their app. When I checked the size of the app I noticed it was really tiny, less than 1MB. What kind of game can you expect from an app this size?!"
The app’s developer, VinoSports, offers five gaming apps on Google Play, all of which have been blocked by AVAST and are detected as "Android:FakeViSport."
AVAST has also found further soccer world cup gaming apps that they have marked as "suspicious." Although these apps can be considered games, they come with plenty of obstacles – for example, they say it is nearly impossible to play Football World Cup 14 (Soccer), because ads are constantly popping up. Fifa 2014 Free – World Cup requests access to information that has nothing to do with the app’s function, like "location, call log, and to other accounts on the phone," AVAST notes. The app’s developer, Top Game Kingdom, has many applications on the market, most of them behaving in a similarly questionable manner.
"We recommend you to take a closer look at the apps you download during tournament time, be it gaming apps, live streaming apps or apps that allow you to bet for your national team, to make sure you stay safe and as ad free as possible," notes Chytry. "To make sure that you don’t get into the ad and spy trap play it safe and compare app functionalities to the access they request. Also, read user comments and rather download world cup-related apps from official providers like FIFA."
You can learn more about AVAST, its products, and its security research by visiting www.avast.com.