Bio-metric based security, such as Fingerprint authentication, is proved to be the most secure & convenient measure to safeguard your systems and applications. Fingerprint sensing in particular is becoming increasingly common and product-differentiating feature in smart phones, tablets and PCs. However, fingerprint authentication also raises security concerns that can be best addressed with users vigilance and awareness.
Apple’s Touch ID bio-metric technology was recently abused to beguile fitness freaks. Multiple delusive fitness- tracking apps available at Apple App Store fraudulently used Apple’s touch ID platform to trick users into making payments. To fetch the fitness data users were prompted to scan their fingerprints. On doing so the app activated the dodgy payment mechanism to drain $99 to $140 USD from a saved credit card or other payment sources.
These hoax apps – Fitness Balance and Calories tracker were spotted by various Reddit users over the last week. The similarity in the User Interface & functionality of the app depicts that these apps were most likely created by the same developer.
In order to create personalized diet and other stuffs, the so called fitness tracking apps asked users to place their fingerprint on the Touch ID scanner for 10 seconds. While the user’s finger is still placed on the Touch ID scanner, a pop up is displayed that seeks a payment of $99 to $140 USD. If users continue to place their finger on the pad, the request can be approves almost immediately.
If user refuses to scan their finger, another pop-up appears that prompts users to tap Continue Button to be able to use the app. If the user complies, the dodgy payment procedure is repeated.
In order to gain user confidence these malicious apps contained fake reviews that made them appear beneficial. For instance, the Fitness Balance App despite of its malevolent behavior received:
Apple after receiving complaints from victims about the malevolent nature of the app immediately removed the app from the app store. Users who tried to contact the developer expecting to receive a positive response only received a generic reply promising to fix the issue in the upcoming version 1.1.
On the top of this, users are advised to always read user reviews before installing any app. Positive reviews can be easily faked. Negative reviews are more likely to reveal the true nature of any app.
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