Google removes fraudulent apps
15 Dec 2011
22 apps running RuFraud scam removed from Android Market
Google has confirmed that 22 apps have been removed from the Android Market, saving unsuspecting users from a higher phone bill.
The fraudulent 'RuFraud' apps posed as popular software for the Android platform, but instead of getting the likes of Angry Birds downloaded to a phone, the victims of the scam were actually giving permission to send out a premium text message, which would be billed at around £3. A total of 27 malicious apps were actually spotted by both Google and mobile security company Lookout. The latter company claims that the fraud originated out of Russia, with 14,000 downloads of the apps carried out before the fraud was spotted. That's around £42,000 - nice work if you can get it.
The Android Market is, in the spirit of the platform, more open source than other app stores, and there are a number of positives to having less vetting. More apps and more opportunities for newcomers to get a foothold in the app market, for example. But these latest apps also show a massive downside to less vetting.
David Emm, a security researcher for Kaspersky, commented: 'The flexibility of the Android Market is great, but that comes at a potential price to security. It will become a potentially bigger problem in the future. Android's market share is going up, and so is the number of malware-infected mobile software.'
He added: 'The concern is that your Android Market account is attached to your Gmail account – which means if my Market account is hacked, it adds another security problem.'