As Bitcoin prices began skyrocketing and more users started investing in the cryptocurrency, more and more Bitcoin apps began popping up. However, some of these apps, despite having been banned, are still available to users in popular app stores. Security experts discovered over 600 blacklisted Bitcoin apps that were still available for download to users.
Security researchers analysed over 18,000 apps across 20 app stores to find that 661 blacklisted Bitcoin apps were still available to users, leaving users vulnerable to hackers. Researchers at RiskIQ found that three percent of apps with "Bitcoin exchange" in the title, 2.6% with "Bitcoin wallet" in the title and 2.2% with "cryptocurrency" in the title have been blacklisted.
Researchers also found that GooglePlay, which hosted 272 of the blacklisted apps, as well as APKFiles and 9Apps – both of which hosted 54 and 52 blacklisted apps respectively – were the top app stores guilty of making the blacklisted apps available to users.
According to RiskIQ researchers, the cybercriminals behind the banned apps can steal money and data by tricking users that have downloaded the malicious apps into handing over massive sums of money or sensitive and personal details.
"We are seeing threat actors around the world exploiting what is already a hostile currency in a lawless digital world. Before handing over any cash or personal data, investors should carry out thorough research into the exchange and wallet apps they intend to use," RiskIQ EMEA vice president Fabian Libeau said in a statement. "By checking the developer's name, user reviews and the number of app downloads, investors can measure the validity of an app and be more confident in their choice."
Researchers also warned that the rise in unofficial and potentially malicious apps could likely scare off potential investors looking to purchase Bitcoin.