FaceApp is the latest sensation in the social media world, in part for the viral FaceApp challenge. The app has been around for the while but rose to fame after people started sharing their modified photos using the old-age filter. With great popularity, FaceApp has been the centre of criticism over some privacy concerns. Adding another obstacle to the app's growing popularity is the rise of fake apps with malicious intent.

FaceApp, which had gone viral once in 2017, has taken the internet by storm. More and more people are flocking to Play Store and App Store for the viral app to complete the FaceApp challenge, but some are being fooled by strikingly-similar fake versions of the app. As a result, unsuspecting users download fake FaceApp and get their devices infected with malware.

"Kaspersky has identified a fake application that is designed to trick users into thinking it is a certified version of FaceApp," Igor Golovin, a security researcher at Kaspersky, warned, adding that it "goes on to infect devices with an adware module called MobiDash."

FaceApp crashes in India (Left), Global celebrity FaceApp post-Twitter (Right)Chetan Priyadarshan

According to the data gathered by the cybersecurity firm, 500 users had been infected by the malicious actor within 48 hours. The user only identifies the app is fake until after downloading and trying out a filter. But it's too late then as the malware has already slipped into the device. The malware then starts displaying ads on the infected device.

Looking at the upward trend in the FaceApp's popularity comes with a warning for its users. A lot of malicious clones will flock to the app marketplaces. If it is an adware, the infected device can redirect users to malicious sites or even porn websites. 

Fake FaceApp
Fake FaceAppScreenshot

The best way to stay clear of such fake apps is to identify the legit app and always go through official app stores to install an app. In the case of FaceApp, users must search for the term with the right spelling and verify the developer's identity before installing the app. It is also advised that users check for permissions and do not blindly hit next when prompted even for legit apps. 

FaceApp has suddenly stopped working for Indian users, showing errors while trying to apply an old-age filter. This could easily prompt users to look for ways to get the filter to work, one of them being falling prey for fake apps.