Warning: A fake Amazon Alexa setup app infiltrated Apple’s App Store and is now the #6 utility.
Apple’s iOS App Store paved the way for other modern mobile app stores. Prior to the App Store’s introduction in 2008 alongside the iPhone 3G, smartphone users who wanted to install apps on their phones had to do so through third-party app repositories on a computer. Those apps then needed to be synchronized to the phone from a computer, believe it or not. It was a huge pain and it seems like a lifetime ago, but we might still be using this method if not for Apple.
Now, app stores are the norm. Each mobile and desktop platform has its own first-party app store, and there are also third-party app stores like Amazon’s. They’re all fairly similar at this point, but Apple’s iOS App Store still has one big advantage over all the rest. Because Apple employs such strict oversight, it’s much better than any other company at weeding out malware and other malicious apps. Of course, some nefarious apps still manage to sneak through from time to time, and one such example infiltrated the App Store over the Christmas holiday. Incredibly, it’s still there and has now become the #6 app in the utilities category.
Amazon’s Echo speakers are always among the most popular gifts during Christmas each year, and the same can be said in 2018. This year, however, a developer appears to be taking advantage of all the new Echo speakers that are flooding the market and has created a fake Alexa setup app to trick people into using it.
Luckily, this app did not carry a malicious payload, but just goes to show how easy it would be to get into trouble. Always check carefully before adding apps to your computer, tablet or phone.
The real version for iOS is here… https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/amazon-alexa/id944011620
UPDATE: The app was finally removed late evening of the 27th.