Home Malware News Fake Pokemon Go Game App Locks Smartphones and Performs Porn Ad Clicks

Fake Pokemon Go Game App Locks Smartphones and Performs Porn Ad Clicks

Posted: July 21, 2016

fake pokemon go android appsPokemon Go is the new hot item on smartphones enabling users to get out of their seat and actively seek out Pokemon characters on the streets and public spaces of the world. No doubt that Pokemon Go is a phenomenon that had numbers ranked with Twitter in terms of active users. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to Pokemon Go and one of them is a fake version that is locking up Android smartphones and secretly driving clicks to pornographic advertisements.

The fake Pokemon Go app was discovered by the ESET security firm on the Google Play Store. The app is called Pokemon Go Ultimate and doesn't offer anything remotely similar to the real Pokemon Go app other than its name.

Running the fake Pokemon Go app, which appears as a program called PI Network once it runs, will freeze phones with a lock screen of a Pokemon Go image and then forces the user to restart the device. From there, the PI Network icon disappears but remains running in the background to go online and secretly click on porn advertisements to generate pay-per-click revenue for the app's developers. It's a rather ingenious technique but one that can be considered shrewd and lascivious.

After ESET's discovery of the fake Pokemon Go app on the Google Play Store, it was quickly removed. During its active time, the malicious app was available for enough time for nearly 1,000 downloads. Still, some users may be enticed by other fake Pokemon Go apps, which are suspected to appear to be based on the premise of the gaming app being so popular, to download and install them. The authors of the malicious Pokemon Go apps figure that with the unprecedented popularity of Pokemon Go that they too can have a piece of the action just by touting a fake or malicious app with the same name.

It seems Google isn't going to have any of the foolishness of those copying the Pokemon Go name and spreading malicious apps as they are actively looking for any such apps on the Google Play Store. Moreover, because Pokemon Go, the real app, isn't available to many countries outside of the USA, many people are seeking the popular game and may mistakenly encounter knockoff versions that are essentially malware.

ESET is also warning Android smartphone users to be on the lookout for unofficial Pokemon Go apps that contain scareware or ones that install other fraudulent apps on a user's phone that could be infected with a virus. Additionally, there may be apps that tout the Pokemon Go name in some way to send subscription SMS messages to fake and expensive services to run up your cell phone bill.

For now, many security experts are warning smartphone users to be aware of an outbreak of fake Pokemon Go apps and other third party offerings that promise Pokemon Go cheats, music, or tips for one of the most popular apps this year. It is in your best interest to not fall into the hysteria of Pokemon Go outside of the real gaming app, it could end up costing you big.