Phones Review

Google under fire for fake BBM apps release

Under: Android OS Apps, Apps
Date: October 20th, 2013

A few weeks ago the BBM app for both the Android and iOS platforms was supposed to be released to users but the arrival of the service ran into to problems with still no sign of it, but Google is coming under fire for fake BBM apps getting a release on the Play Store.

Around the time of the supposed arrival of the BBM app for Android the Google Play Store was awash with fake versions of the app tricking users to part with cash or worse such as malware. Now a number of security experts have criticised Google for its failure to address the problem and clean up its own doorstep.

One expert Graham Cluley told Cnet that he has little confidence in Google’s attempts to protect the app store and put it as like “getting Norman Wisdom to defend the Crown Jewels”. He accused the company of being “sloppy and too laid-back” in terms of what is allowed onto Google Play.

Soon after the news broke that the BBM service was coming to the platform a number of fake apps appeared onto the store with logos taken from genuine sites to dupe unsuspecting users, which could mean some of the apps are full of malware.

David Emm of Kaspersky Lab says that Google has a duty to remove either fake or malicious applications from Google Play, and Cluley added that BlackBerry must have complained to Google about all the fake BBM offerings getting put up onto the store, as they are breaking the company’s trademarks and copyrights.

Another security expert Paul Ducklin from Sophos feels that it is disappointing that the Google Play Store is allowed to be “easily abused like this”, and points to the fact that Nintendo is often the victim of fake apps as well.

It’s a fine line of allowing the open source philosophy that is dearly loved with the Android eco system, and continually allowing fake apps to be put up to the Play Store. The Apple App Store has a more restrictive method of allowing applications onto the store front with all apps checked first, but it’s this restrictiveness that makes a number of users choose Android over iOS in the first place.

Google does remove fake apps but so many get submitted to Google Play as soon as some are taken down new ones take their place. The platform uses a system called Verify Apps that looks at an app when it is downloaded to the handset and matches it against information on malware, and Google Play has a system called Bouncer that also checks apps for malicious behaviour.

Security experts have found that some fake apps can beat this though by guarding bad behaviour until after it has been scanned. Google has an event planned for next week that looks to focus on all things Google Play so maybe the company will announce some welcome changes to the service in regards to fake apps.

We heard last week that the BBM app would be coming in a few days and at the time of writing there is no sign of it, but maybe this time BlackBerry will just release the app without no pre-warning of its arrival. At the time of writing we couldn’t find any fake BBM apps on the Google Play Store but when it is released it will be by BlackBerry Limited.

Do you think Google has to improve things with regards to fake apps?

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  • James Stevenson

    This whole article is ridiculous. At the time of writing, you couldn’t find any examples of what experts said might have been malware and Google had already done what you were preaching should be their responsibility. Hahaha, talk about reaching for news….

    • applebite

      before there were loads of fake apps though a friend of mine installed one thinking it was bbm was asked to rate the app and everything!

      • Spliffy

        Then he’s an idiot. Apple have such a lengthy testing process for their apps because Apple users tend to lack common sense. Android on the other hand, believe that their users have some wits about them to not download obviously dodgy looking apps, or ‘official’ apps from unofficial developers.

  • teriton

    blackberry should fulfill the promise that has been made besides that blackberry should send download link to those people who signed up in blackberry website so the users can download the real bbm. based on that and in my opinion blackberry should not make an excuse about the google play.

    • Pjews

      BBM will not come out before Nov.4. Because that would increase the SP and Blackberry will have to pay PW his fee of 30 cent or more/share.

  • Paul Smith

    Yes, Google should be paying more attention to the apps in Play Store.

  • Abigail Summers

    Yes, because when we download dodgey apps they crash our phones put viruses on them & then we have to buy new phones due to your laziness. Be more professional.

    • Bbjjss

      Or you could just get a Blackberry and side load any of your beloved Android apps that Blackberry doesn’t have!

  • CitizenFury

    Android users need to stop being damn idiots though… I’m an Android user and I can see a fake app from a mile away. They said BBM would be free why would anyone buy a paid app on the Play store claiming to be BBM? Also does no one look at screen shots? Those fake BBM apps were so obviously fake you could see it just by their icons! Usually spelling and grammar errors in the description are also a dead giveaway. Don’t even get me started on the people who downloaded the BES10 Client from the actual BlackBerry ltd. page and then went on commenting “this isn’t bbm, fake app bla bla”… What the hell is that even? In what way does BES10 mean BBM? Sometimes I feel like 80% of Android users are blind and illeterate.

    • Sibongiseni Bentley Msomi

      It not that they’re idiots, they just less technologically educated, best way to see a fake app is through the publisher’s name, no1 can steal the title “Blackberry Limited”

  • paul gilbert

    because of people that want to mess it up for other people should be banned for a certain time from bbm with it get released and people who just release fake bbm apps should be banned from play store

    • elias

      lol dude they are getting banned and coming back with fake accounts.

  • Ranjeet

    ur site sucks. can’t read the post because of the “Chrome Book Official Site” ad.

  • iCeejay

    This is one of the reason why im loving apple ios more than that shitty google android

  • Final Echelon

    After reading why so many people think BBM is awesome, I can’t help but wonder how much of the iKoolaid have they ingested to be so stoked over something that, in my experience, sucks really bad. I don’t see what is so freaking awesome about BBM.. and please don’t give me that whole “oh it’s sooo exclusive because not everyone has it” crap. If not everyone has it, then why should I waste my time with it?

  • Debbie

    I think it’s high time they address this issue the perfect way. BBM should just go ahead and upload the app on their official website and stop blaming Google for their fall:P

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