Microsoft fails to screen over 100 fake Windows Store submissions under the guise of popular apps and games

Microsoft fails to screen over 100 fake Windows Store submissions under the guise of popular apps and ...

Over 100 fake apps and games have been discovered in the Windows Store, all using popular names to trick users into downloading them. Some are free, but most are priced at $4.99 and others go for up to $28.99, in a clear attempt to generate as much revenue from ignorant Windows 8 and Windows RT customers.

Updated with comment from Microsoft below.

WinBeta, which first spotted the fake apps, found them by searching for “how to use.” While this phrase is tacked on to the end of the titles for these apps, it is cut off when browsing the store, as you can see below:


A closer look shows that the publishers for these so-called apps include GreenHot, BA MEDIA, Hot Girl, Facebook Pro, MAHN TIEN, and Angry Birds Pro. Searching for either of these terms brings back even more results of fake submissions.

It’s possible that the people Microsoft employs for reviewing the apps thought they were tutorials, but that’s hardly an excuse for letting them into the Windows Store. Most people can easily see that these submissions are made to trick users into paying for popular apps and games that are otherwise free.

For example, here’s what happens when you search for Chrome:


These apps aren’t just targeting third-party titles: there are even mentions of Microsoft’s own Office, OneNote, Publisher, Word, and other such offerings. It’s frankly mind-boggling that any of these were accepted into the store, but even more surprising that fake Microsoft apps made it in as well.

Microsoft recently announced that the Windows Store had surpassed the 100,000-app milestone. Not only is that far behind the competition, and it took the company very long to reach the six-digit figure, but apparently at least some of the submissions shouldn’t have ever been counted in the first place.

WinBeta sums up the situation nicely:

Dear Microsoft, please do something about this. How on earth are these “apps” passing your lengthy certification and approval process? For those of you who love to purchase apps from the Windows Store, we urge you to be extra careful on what you purchase.

We have contacted Microsoft about this issue. We will update this article if and when we hear back.

Update: Here’s what a Microsoft spokesperson told us:

We strive to make the Windows Store an excellent experience for Windows 8 users. We routinely review apps based on performance, ratings and user reviews and take steps to remove apps if they do not meet our certification guidelines. We are aware of the issue and are actively removing apps that offer little value or confuse customers, and will continue evaluating our submission process to make sure Windows offers the highest quality app catalog available. With regards to trademark infringement, with every app there is an option to report the app for violating the Windows Store’s Terms of Use. If a company feels a Windows Store app is infringing on their copyrights or trademarks, they should report the app and we will take immediate action to determine if the app should be removed from the Windows Store.

Top Image Credit: Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

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