The iPhone app that only worked with a positive review

The new frontier of scam is a system that blocks the software until five stars are awarded

(Photo: Kosta Eleftheriou)

Let’s start from the epilogue: it was promptly deleted from the App Store, but the malicious and mocking behavior introduced by the app Upnp Xtreme it could really open a new frontier of the scam of less recommendable smartphone apps. A new problem to solve for giants like Apple and Android.

Upnp Xtreme had landed on the App Store for iPhone as a tool for it streaming content from smartphone to TV. And apparently it was doing its job, since it was approved and published. However, it immediately became the protagonist of an unpleasant behavior reported en masse by users in the reviews section: it literally took the user hostage forcing him to provide a perfect grade (5 out of 5 stars) to continue to be used.

The apps for iPhone, as well as those for Android, have the right to invite users to vote and review on the store. We are now used to seeing the window already prepared in which you just have to tap on one of the five stars. It goes without saying that it is an invitation and not an imposition: you can close the window and also indicate that you will no longer be disturbed with the same request.

This was not the case with Upnp Xtreme. As told by some users who had had the unfortunate idea to download it, as soon as it installed and opened for the first time immediately showed the voting window. If you clicked on “Not now” (ie, “Not now”) nothing happened and even if you tried to choose to vote on one, two, three or four stars. The only way to get back to using the software was to vote for five stars, the maximum possible.

As shown in the video above, you couldn’t even cheat the system, pretending to vote for five stars and then cancel it because you were back to where you started. The so-called “app hunter” Kosta Eleftheriou, who specializes in finding software with incorrect behavior, discovered the deceptive practice. Some other users have reported to be able to vote fewer stars or to close the window, but Apple immediately removed the software also because they ask for an immediate review at the first start goes against the guidelines.

Will it be the first in a long line of apps that will take advantage of this gimmick? Mobile giants like Apple and Google they work hard every day to clean up dangerous software, which often exploit hot topics as it was for versioni mobile fake of the game Cyberpunk 2077.

Categories:   Mobile