Users of Android phones and tablets have been put on high alert by a hugely popular app that can quietly drain their bank accounts.
Android smartphone owners are accustomed to warnings from security researchers. Despite Google's best efforts, malware, ransomware, and software utilities keep creeping into its store and finding their way to the public due to the huge popularity of Android.
The last of these applications, a well-known application called “SnapTube”, is known as an easy way to download videos from “YouTube” and “Facebook”, and it has been downloaded more than 40 million times.
A new report from the company (UpStreamSystems), which specializes in smartphone security, revealed that users who downloaded the “SnapTube” application on their smartphones may find themselves paying a heavy price, as this application quietly records users in order to obtain distinguished services from them without their knowledge.
This practice is known as (fleeceware), i.e. extorting application developers for smartphone and tablet users and making profits by charging subscription fees for those applications in their beta phase or once you subscribe to them.
Google allows third-party developers to charge the credit or debit card saved to a Google account, to enable some of its most popular services, such as Netflix, to work seamlessly for users of Android smartphones and tablets.
Android app users are usually able to cancel the trial period manually, to avoid being charged for the full subscription.
However, the vast majority of users simply uninstall the app, when they are not interested or want to avoid going for the non-free subscription.
Some may forget that they have even signed up for a trial subscription within the apps when they remove them from their Android smartphones or tablets.
If you download Snaptube to quickly download a YouTube or Facebook video and then delete the app and forget it, you may have accidentally signed up for a premium service from the developer.
It is estimated that SnapTube has already earned, through its fraudulent activities, approximately $100 million from users.
When this practice was brought to light, Mobiuspace, the developer of SnapTube and a number of other successful apps, claimed it was unaware of the problem and that any unwanted fees to customers were due to a third-party app. Snaptube is reaching out to him, which Google apparently refused, as it has now removed Snaptube from the Google Play Store.
Of course, the removal of SnapTube from the Google Play Store means that new Android smartphones and tablets will not be able to download the app.
And if you previously downloaded SnapTube and noticed some unusual charges coming out of your current account, you should launch the Play Store app on your phone and tap the menu button in the upper-left corner of the screen.
After that, head to Subscriptions, search for and select anything related to Snaptube, then press Cancel Subscription and follow the instructions on the screen to get rid of fees that can be deducted from your account without your knowledge.