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Fake Alexa Companion App Tops App Store Charts Before Apple Takes It Down

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Fake Alexa Companion App Tops App Store Charts Before Apple Takes It Down

Unsuspecting Amazon Alexa customers were lured into downloading a fake Alexa setup app

Highlights
  • An app posed as the official companion app for Amazon Alexa
  • The fake app managed to top the App Store charts
  • Apple has now removed the fake app from the App Store

An app on Apple's App Store has been disguising itself as an official setup app for Amazon's Alexa smart speakers. The app called 'Setup for Amazon Alexa' even managed to climb the top charts for free apps on the App Store before it was taken down by Apple. The holiday season is a prime time for companion apps as most people start setting up their new devices. A number of Reddit users had also reported about the fake Amazon Alexa setup app.

The fake app reached the 60th spot on the overall 'Top Free' section on the App Store and the 6th spot in the Utilities section. At the time of this writing, the app has been removed from the App Store across all regions. A cached copy of the app's listing reveals it reached the 6th most popular slot in Utilities.

According to a report by 9to5Mac, 'Setup for Amazon Alexa' lured users into revealing their IP address along with the serial number of the device. The app also asked users to set a name for their device. It's interesting to see how such an app could pass through Apple's strict App Store review process.

As for climbing up the charts, the Christmas rush for setting up a new Amazon Alexa speaker along with the title 'Setup for Amazon Alexa' could have ensured users landed on the app listing. The app's developer is listed as 'One World Software'.

Several users had already posted their reviews on the App Store, claiming the app is a 'scam'. However, a number of reviews complained about not being able to setup their Alexa speakers using the app, indicating they didn't realise they had downloaded a fake app.

But this isn't the first time we've seen fake apps appear on the App Store. Back in 2016, we saw a number of Pokemon Go clones and other fake apps dominating the charts on Apple's App Store.

To make sure this doesn't happen to you, always ensure you're downloading the correct app from the official listing. Always check the developer name right below the app's title on the App Store. Official apps from popular companies always have a large number of ratings, most of them positive. You can also browse the developer's other apps to determine if it's the right one.

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Further reading: App Store, Amazon Alexa
Harpreet Singh Harpreet is the community manager at Gadgets 360. He loves all things tech, and can be found hunting for good deals when he’s not shopping online. More
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