About 204 different “fleeceware” applications with a combined billion+ downloads have raked in more than $400 million in revenue so far, via the Apple App Store and Google Play, analysis has revealed.
Fleeceware apps generally offer users a free trial to “test” the app, before commencing automatic payments that can be exorbitant. In an analysis from Avast released on Wednesday, some of those subscriptions can reach $3,400 or more per year. And often, users are charged even after they’ve deleted the offending application.
“These applications generally have no unique functionality and are merely conduits for fleeceware scams,” said Avast researcher Jakub Vávra, in the posting. “While the applications generally fulfill their intended purpose, it is unlikely that a user would knowingly want to pay such a significant recurring fee for these applications, especially when there are cheaper or even free alternatives on the market.”