A scandal is defined as being a disgraceful event, a definition that would seem apt for the fact that rip off apps continue to be offered in official app stores. Yes, I’m talking about ‘fleeceware’ here: those apps that abuse the trust and naivety of both iPhone and Android users to charge them excessive and recurring subscription fees.
While both Apple and Google have plenty of developer guidelines designed to protect users from fraudulent and misleading apps, as well as processes in place to discover, investigate and remove such apps, this is not enough or the fleeceware problem wouldn’t continue to be one. According to a report by Avast researchers, 204 fleeceware apps totaled more than a billion downloads between them. They amassed a revenue in excess of $400 million on Apple and Google app stores.
What is fleeceware?
Perhaps I should start by defining what it isn’t: fleeceware isn’t malware or spyware, or even a genuine ‘freemium app’…