Fitness and health apps are innovative, convenient, and helpful, but watch what you download.
The market for health assistant apps is rapidly growing. Unfortunately, scammers have infiltrated the fitness app market and they’re preying on people who just want a little technological help in living healthier lives.
Three apps have recently been removed from the iOS App Store: “Heart Rate Monitor,” “Fitness Balance app,” and “Calories Tracker app.” Their scams exploited the Touch ID feature found on certain models of iPhones.
Touch ID has been available for unlocking iPhones, authenticating identities for different apps, and using Apple Pay. There is no extra confirmation step after a fingerprint scan. Touch ID is gradually being phased out, but those who use older iPhones are encouraged to only use Touch ID in apps that are widely considered as trustworthy.
These fitness app scams required users to scan their fingerprints via Touch ID in order to gain access to one of the app’s basic functions. Once the victim completes the scan, the screen goes dim and a popup shows a shockingly expensive in-app purchase (ranging between $90 to $120).
These apps were reported to Apple and were pulled from the App Store for violating developer guidelines. Even if the apps are no longer available, be warned. The scam is replicable.
The ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity demands that we always be vigilant against malware, phishing, identity theft, etc. Before you download an app, do as much research as you can and read user reviews. Positive reviews can easily be faked. After all, the malicious “Fitness Balance app” had an average rating of 4.3. That’s why it’s important to take negative reviews with careful consideration.
Fitness apps can be packed with amazing, useful features. They offer step tracking, heart rate monitors, and integrated connectivity with wearable devices and gym equipment. They can provide users with diet plans, workout programs, and a sense of community. Some are made to count your calories, record your progress, and even remind you to stay hydrated. These incredible tools can even help with lifesaving diagnosis. Just be wary of what you download.