A Latvian company has been fined £50,000 for putting fake versions of Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed and Cut the Rope onto the Android Market.
The fake apps were designed to look like free versions of the official Angry Birds, Assassin’s Creed and Cut the Rope apps on the Android Market – but when downloaded appeared bugged, refusing to open.
What they actually did when opened was send three Premium SMS text messages to the user. These messages would be hidden and thus the user would be unaware – until on receipt of their bill they saw they’d been charged £5 for each message by the premium rate service.
The company will now have to pay a £50,000 fine and refund some £28,000 to users who were charged by the scam.
“I downloaded every app that I could see on the Android market which had good reviews or if I recognised the name,” Android user and victim John Gladstone told BBC News. “I’m always quite careful with my phone,” he added, but was still caught by the scam.
“You’ve got to be think that phones are like computers and there is a massive link to your phone bill or potentially your credit card,” Nitin Lachani, a researcher of such malware for PhonepayPlus told the BBC.
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