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Fake Alexa setup app for iOS taken down but could still be dangerous

If you downloaded One World Software’s scam “Setup for Amazon Alexa” iOS app from the iPhone App Store store, do yourself a favor and delete the app. If you already installed it, uninstall the app and then delete it. Fortunately, at least for all others, the fake app is no longer listed on the App Store.

The malicious app got as high as sixth place in downloads in the Apple App Store Utilities section and 60th place overall in Top Free apps, according to 9to5Mac. Before the fraudulent setup app was finally taken down Thursday evening, December 27, it had received more than 9,400 ratings, Venture Beat reported.

After reported sales of millions of Amazon Alexa devices during the Christmas season, it’s not surprising the app climbed high on the download list. Many owners who wanted to configure new Alexa devices likely used its name as a search term.

The Echo Dot printed setup guide instructs owners to download the Alexa App on the iOS or Android app store. No other app is required to set up an Alexa device. However, when a search for “Alexa” returns a long list of possibles, choosing an app named for what you want to do, such as in this case to set up Amazon Alexa, seems logical.

Users who downloaded the app have not reported any specific harm other than wasted time. Many of its rapidly acquired ratings complained the app didn’t work.

The scam app users are required to enter their Alexa device serial number, IP address, and a name for the device. The app’s privacy policy goes on and on about the required permissions you must grant the publisher to use the app. Users must allow the publisher to collect, use, and share information about you and your actions online. The personal information on the list included, “IP address, browser information, referring/exit pages and URLs, clickstream data … domain names, landing pages, page views, cookie data … mobile device type, mobile device IDs … and location data,” Venture Beat reported.

Two additional apps published by One World Software, “Marketplace – Buy/Sell” and “Any Font for Instagram” have also been removed from the iTunes Store.

As anyone who has submitted an app for the iOS App Store review process can attest, Apple’s app screening is rigorous. Regardless, “Setup for Amazon Alexa” did make its way through the filters, which is disconcerting. But now the app has been removed.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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