Even though updates were only offered via official channels, 10 million owners of Samsung mobile phones have downloaded and installed an application claiming to offer OEM builds for the latest operating system of Android. The “Updates for Samsung” app fooled customers by appearing as a one stop shop for operating system updates. Rather than updating, this app redirected users to an ad farm which would charge cash to download firmware updates.
The report by CSIS Security Group claims that over 10 million installations had already taken place on phones. Despite the shady business, this application continues to be available on the app store.
The application is full of adverts but dupes you when you search via the Download Firmware section. It is not only fooling owners but also are sending out Samsung Firmware despite having no affiliations to Samsung.
An annual subscription costs $34.99 and provides those using the application easy access to the downloads installed onto their devices. These are all originally available free of cost at the Samsung store. The scam application is not using the Google Pay subscription at all, but are instead asking for credit card information to send to an API endpoint over HTTPS through update.com. This allows a free tier for downloading the firmware but allows download speeds of 56Kbps so as to lure unsuspecting customers into downloading the paid tier. Reviewers have noted that downloads are not possible at the given speeds.
The report by CSIS says that the fake application offers bogus SIM unlocking available at $19.99. Payments are extracted through external payment methods rather than Google Play. While malware is not downloaded through this app into your phone, it remains to be a scamming device with no relenting. Check up on your fellow Samsung owners and make sure that they have not downloaded this application to update their Samsung phones.
Samsung offers free of cost downloads of all updates and accepts payments only over the Google Play subscription which is taken up in order to download applications.