Android users are warned by security experts against deleting three fitness apps at once

If you started 2023 with a fitness-focused New Year’s resolution, you might be among the millions who have downloaded active apps to stay motivated.

But cyber experts are now warning that shady developers could take advantage of your health boost.

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Three apps that claim to track and encourage healthy habits are actually used for advertising and lies.

Pedometer and health tracking apps have been flagged by antivirus firm Doctor Web over claims that users can collect virtual rewards, which can then be exchanged for real money and online gift cards.

However, the developers removed the applications’ functional ability to withdraw payments in a later update, which effectively means that users trying to make money from the app will find their funds become worthless.

Aside from being told that they can earn these “virtual rewards” by performing fitness tasks, users are also constantly shown advertisements and actually encouraged to increase their rewards balance by watching them.

The rogue update was detected in the Lucky Habit: health tracker application, which has the same Command and Control (C&C) server as two other fitness apps: WalkingJoy and Lucky Step-Walking Tracker.

“This could indicate that they are all connected and that users of ‘Lucky Habit: Health Tracker’ and ‘WalkingJoy’ could lose hope of receiving payments at any time,” reports Dr. Web.

All three applications were previously available for download from the Google Play Store and have an average rating of over 3.9 stars. However, at the time of writing this article, only Lucky Habit: Health Tracker was available for download.

The apps have been downloaded over 20 million times in total.

Experts have found that fitness app Lucky Habit and two related apps have scammed Android users. Credit: dr web

Users of the apps are told that they need to collect two million “coins” to withdraw the equivalent of around $35, but once they reach the required balance they are prompted to watch 30 more ads in order to make a withdrawal .

After that, it is no longer possible to pay out, reported deceived users.

Some even reported that the videos they were fed were inappropriate, and others claimed they had to play for around six months to accumulate the required withdrawal balance.

“It told me I had to watch dirty videos and really needed the $35 to cash out because I’ve been playing this for a long time,” reported Android user Monica Marks.

Many reviews on Google Play Store claim Lucky Habit app wasted months of their life and financially misled them. Credit: Google play store

An Android user who downloaded Lucky Habit, Clint Edwards, said that he tested the withdrawal feature and initially cashed out $1. After hours of building up a balance, they were no longer able to withdraw.

“I wasn’t credited even though I played several games for hours,” Edwards said.

“I’m starting to think that (it) is a scam.”

Another Android user who downloaded the app, Patrick Ortiz, said: “I can’t back down. I hit two million and then the app said I had to watch the ad 30 times. I’ve been playing it for more than six months, that’s a lot of advertising! Now that I’ve finished the game, I can’t retire. It’s a scam! What a waste of time.”

Watch: Unconscious man rescued seconds before car burst into flames.

Watch: Unconscious man rescued seconds before car burst into flames. Android users are warned by security experts against deleting three fitness apps at once

James Brien

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