Photo: Adobe Stock
Photo: Adobe Stock
Remember SnapTube? This popular app certainly seemed to be an easy way to download and save videos from YouTube and Facebook. However, make sure you have the latest version of the app because if you are using an older version of SnapTube then you may be opening your phone up to malware attacks.
Malicious software can end up on your phone through simple downloads of seemingly harmless files, such as music, an application, or even a wallpaper. This happens much more regularly than one might think.
Because Snaptube is a third-party app (that is, outside the official Google Play Store, or the Apple iStore), the Android device security prompts a warning dialog box when you try to download the app.
Google has taken measures to ensure its users are protected, but the security team at mobile technology company Upstream have warned this may not be enough.
On its website, Upstream says that users in South Africa, as well as Brazil, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Malaysia have been the most affected by the attacks.
Upstream advised SnapTube users to “carefully watch their phone bills and report to their operator any subscriptions or charges that they did not authorise”.
Upstream also advised users to delete the app from their phones if they saw signs of irregular activity pointing to a suspicious application consuming data in the background.
The Upstream security team said it had seen the rise of malicious software found in various apps rise by 55% in the first quarter of 2020.
SnapTube has been installed by more than 40 million Android users around the world.
While the app allows you to download videos from YouTube and Facebook, Upstream claimed that SnapTube generated premium calls and texts to the value of $100 million without the knowledge of its users.
In 2019, Upstream warned that SnapTube is “a screen for suspicious background activity … We found not just background advertising click fraud, but also countless examples of users being signed up for premium digital services or subscriptions.”
Chinese firm Mobiuspace developed SnapTube and it has 100 million users every month around the world. In October 2019 Mobiuspace linked the issue to a collaboration to a third party known as Mango SDK.
Mobiuspace promised it had taken immediate action against the threat and released a new update to the app which removed the Mango SDK versions. At the same time, it sent out notifications to alert all their users to upgrade to the latest version of the SnapTube app.
This means that the user has to delete the app from their device and install a new and safe version.
Mobiuspace took a step further and considered a partnership with security companies such as Upstream. Since then the security team said it had noted a decline in the number of SnapTube issues, which suggests that the solution is working.
However, Upstream has noted there were still tens of millions of users who needed to delete the old app and install the new one, and SnapTube therefore remains at the top of Upstream’s chart for security risks.
So if you have the app on your phone, it is wise to check you have the latest version. If you are in doubt, delete and install the latest version.
Keeping the old version is the same as leaving your doors unlocked at night in a sketchy neighbourhood!