Scareware tricks Android users into downloading fake anti-virus app

News by Doug Drinkwater

Android owners are being persuaded to download fake anti-virus software.

Researchers at Symantec have discovered a new type of malware that is pushing Android owners into downloading a fake anti-virus app.

Detailing its findings on a blog post over the weekend, the software vendor said that Android phone users are being peppered by mobile ads which claim that their device has been infected with the “Trojan: Mobile OS/Tapsnake”.

But the firm added that the malware is an old threat which, in this case, is designed to make the ads appear more authentic.

"The malware alert is fake. Tapsnake is an older Android threat that just happens to be mentioned in these ads to make them appear more authentic," wrote Satnam Narang, who added that Tapsnake has also attacked Apple's iPhone in the past. 

Researchers continued that the ad is “all a trick designed to convince the user to download an application”, in this case a fake anti-virus app.

When speaking to, Symantec security response manager Gavin O'Gorman said that this attack was the latest to employ “social engineering tactics” to get users downloading rogue applications.

“This is another example of cyber criminals using social engineering tactics to scare users into downloading an application,” said O'Gorman.

“Users should be wary of installing applications which aren't from the main app stores, such as Google Play and Apple App Store, and always use mobile security software from trusted vendors.”

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