Recent publicity about FaceApp has provided an opportunity for cyber criminals who are interested in quick profits to scam users, according to ESET surveys.
Fraudsters have used as a bait a fake "Pro" version of the app and have tried to make it widely known through two types of scam. In the first, a fake site that claims to offer a premium version of FaceApp is used. In the second type of fraud, YouTube videos are used to promote links to download a "Pro" version. One of these forged YouTube videos had more than 150.000 impressions at the time of writing the survey.
The authentic FaceApp app, available for Android and iOS, enables the user to modify their facial image through various filters.
While the application itself is offered free of charge, some of its features designated as "PRO" are available only for a fee. FaceApp and its filters have become 'viral', as well as publicity, but has also raised the issue of protecting online privacy while using the application.
In one of the scams investigated by ESET, cybercriminals use a fake site that claims to offer a premium version of FaceApp.
In fact, cheaters deceive their victims to click on countless bids to install paid apps and subscriptions, ads, surveys, and so on. The victim also receives requests from various websites to allow alerts to appear, which, if activated, point to other bogus bids.
False videos on YouTube contain download links for apps, the only function of which is to make users install several other apps. By clicking the shortcuts, users are in danger of installing malicious software.
"There were over 200 thousands of online stories about the faceApp Pro fake on Thursday 19 / 7. Only one of the YouTube videos we detected had more than 150 thousands of views, but its malicious links were clicked over 90 thousands of times, "says ESET researcher Lukáš Štefanko, adding that" cybercriminals have achieved such high rates CTR (Click Through Rate) that a legitimate business could not even imagine ".
The application has become extremely famous and many want to use it, but ESET recommends users remember the basic security principles before using it.
As tempting as an opportunity, as in this case a free upgrade to a Pro version, users should avoid downloading applications from sources other than official stores and carefully study the available app information developer, rating, reviews, etc.).
Security apps also work as security, as in the event that a user becomes a victim of fraud, if he has a reliable security app installed on his device, he will be able to save some negative consequences.
More details are in the article «With FaceApp in the spotlight, new scams emerge», at WeLiveSecurity.com.