Experts have come across a couple of fake Facebook dating apps that apparently don’t cause any damage to users who install them, but they can clearly be used in malicious operations.
The apps are not made up by the cybercrooks. Instead, they took the Romanian and Spanish versions of an app called “Girlfriend/Boyfriend Checklist” (“Lista de Verificación del Amante Ideal” and “Lista de Verificare pentru Iubit(a)” ) and altered them so that they redirect Android owners to a random Google Play game, Bitdefender warns
The Android apps analyzed by the researchers were found to be clean, but the mechanism leveraged by them hints that they can be later used to point users to malware-infested applications.
The curious thing about this particular scenario is that it’s clearly designed to target Android users. If the dating apps are accessed from a desktop computer, the social media network customer is notified regarding potential girlfriend/boyfriend matches in their friend list.
The altered variants work the same way, but they not only find you a match and make wall posts to alert your contacts that you’re using the app, but they also make the suspicious redirects.
Experts believe that this method could be utilized in the future not only to serve malware, but also to aggressively advertise Android applications.
In the meantime, until Facebook develops a bulletproof method of separating legitimate programs from bogus ones, we advise you to take a close look at what they’re installing. If you notice dubious redirect occurring after you access the app, it should be a clear indication of a potentially malicious plot.
In many cases it’s difficult to tell apart genuine applications from fakes and that’s why it’s recommended that you rely on an antivirus software to keep you safe.