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Tag: Mobile App Security

What is Fleeceware?

Mobile applications are now integral to daily experiences such as shopping, dating, games, entertainment, etc. The increasing use of mobile apps has opened a sea of opportunities for cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are introducing new application-based cyber crimes such as Fleeceware.

Fleeceware is a category of mobile applications that have hidden fees or charges. These apps charge hefty monthly subscription charges after a brief free trial period. Sometimes, the charges are billed to the credit card saved in the device even after the user has uninstalled the app.

Undoubtedly, Fleeceware apps conduct consumer fraud, but they cannot be labeled as malware for the following reasons:

  • The apps perform the functions they claim to offer
  • App developers are free to ask for any price for their services, and funds aren’t stolen illegally
  • The app descriptions mention ‘Paid after free trial period’ and not free

Lack of consumer knowledge is one of the factors that leads Fleeceware apps to succeed. Some mobile device users fail to understand that they need to unsubscribe from an app before uninstalling it. Once the user provides payment details when installing an app, the app has the authority to charge a monthly bill from the saved credit card until the user unsubscribes from the app.

Why Are Fleeceware Apps Growing?

It is strange to notice that although most of the Fleeceware apps offer the same functions as free apps, users are still inclined to use them. Here are some ways that Fleeceware apps use to attract users:

  • They target novice and inexperienced mobile device users
  • The app developers implement clever marketing strategies and social media targeting
  • The app description usually includes an inflated number of downloads and reviews to manipulate users

Safety Tips Against Fleeceware Apps

A little caution can safeguard mobile device users from Fleeceware apps. Here are some preventive tips:

  • Use Authentic App Stores: Many third-party websites offer app downloads. These apps might be luring, but be cautious and use first-party app stores offered by Apple and Android operating systems as these app stores are less susceptible to fake apps.
  • Validate & Verify: It is important to verify and validate an app even when downloading from first-party app stores. Thoroughly check the app’s name before downloading it, read the terms and conditions, check the developer’s name, and research about the developer. Some points to consider are – is the app free or paid after a free trial, are the charges after the free trial period reasonable, and have any users complained of unsubscribing issues or hidden charges.
  • Track Your Subscriptions: Make it a habit to regularly track your subscriptions to see if you have forgotten to unsubscribe from an app that you have already uninstalled. Here is how you can track your subscriptions.
  • Report Apps: If you notice an unexpected charge from an app, unsubscribe, uninstall, and report the app to the app store.

Contact Centex Technologies for information on keeping your devices protected. Centex Technologies also provide solutions for IT network planning, cybersecurity, and hardware support. Call at: Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Secure Coding Guidelines For Mobile Apps

19th June, 2017

Mobile applications play a major role in almost all the tasks that we perform on a daily basis. Right from social networking, checking emails, shopping to paying utility bills, there is an application for everything. However, considering such an extensive usage, hackers have left no stone unturned to jeopardize the security of mobile apps. This is usually done to steal customer’s sensitive information, gain control over a server or user’s computer or make the app inaccessible. Developing a secure code is essential to keep the app safeguarded against such attacks.

Listed below are a few factors that must be kept in mind in order to write a secure code for your mobile app:

Ask Only The Required Information

When a customer signs up to the app, you should not put forward extensive form for him to fill. Make sure you ask only for the data which is absolutely required to complete the sign up process. Irrelevant information will take time to process, take up a lot of disk space and provide a reason to the hackers to break in to your network. As far as possible, you must try to keep the form fields simple and small.

Perform Input Validation

Form fields in an application serve as the most common access points for the hackers. This may be done by entering unusual and arbitrarily long strings of data into the form with the goal of rendering the app unusable. It may also lead to database corruption or manipulation and system crashes. Therefore, it is important that you regularly test user input as well as validate it for a predefined type, length, format and range criterion.

Use Encryption For Sensitive Data

Data encryption is extremely important as it makes the hackers unable to view, access, manipulate or steal any information. Make sure you add encryption to the application’s code to keep all the sensitive data and authentication credentials absolutely secure. This will prevent them from getting leaked through logs or web cache. All the transactions should take place over a secure channel. You must implement stringent checks for attacks that involve manipulating form fields, changing amounts, recording credit card details etc.

For more tips on developing a secure code for your mobile application, you can contact Centex Technologies. We can be reached at (855) 375 – 9654.

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