Google once again have had to remove some rather unpleasant apps from the Android Market. These apps seem to be pretending to be apps based around popular apps with “young people” i.e. Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Twilight or strangely Horoscopes (do people still believe these?).
The user installs the wallpaper app or the game companion and desperate to get at the pictures of Robert Pattinson they wildly just click on every “Accept terms” or “OK” button that pops up. Before they know it the dodgy app is sending text messages in the background to premium services. Costing the user a lot of money. These apps affect users in the following countries Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Estonia as well as Great Britain, Italy, Israel, France, and Germany. As the app checks for a country code during installation.
Not really your traditional virus here, but very dodgy none the less. Lookout Mobile security have outlined what these new sms fraud apps are all about and they have called it RuFraud which is short for Russian Fraud as most of these apps originate from Russia (that must have taken a while to come up with). In the last few day Lookout have advised Google of several apps that fit this style and it totals about 20 that Google have removed.
What is the solution? Google is obviously doing something, but I feel they should introduce some sort screening process for the Market. Kids and “old people” are now getting hold of Android devices because of the lower prices and are obviously just installing stuff willy nilly and this sort of app is targetting that sort of user. The worrying thing is that about 14,000 people have downloaded these apps, which makes me wonder quite how much money these unpleasant people have made from this scam.
Where is this whole mobile security to take us? No doubt Windows Phone and iOS users are reading this with great amusement as Microsoft and Apple both screen apps before they appear on the Marketplace and the App Store. All the Anti-Virus companies seem to be doing about this is charging crazy amounts for pointless software that probably wouldn’t find this sort of app anyway.
Rant over. The moral of the story is do not download Robert Pattinson wallpaper apps unless you are prepared to pay a lot of money.