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Google removes fraudulent apps from marketplace

Google recently found malicious apps on its Appstore which were causing data theft and pickpocketing of users, responding to the malware Google has resolved to remove all these apps from the market.

Google removed 22 applications from the Android market for the applications were found to contain fraudulent software which posed as third party apps which tricked the users and had them pay for unnecessary premium text messages.

The lookout claimed that it informed Google about such apps and later found 5 more such apps in the appstore. The app named “RuFraud” tricked a lot of users by making them download a free game, although actually it was a scam and malicious app that sent text messages via their phones, each costing around 4.65 USD, this app was later identified as Russian. The Lookout exclaimed that such types of malicious app attacks have been continuously increasing since a few months.

The San Francisco- based mobile security company even announced that around 14,000 such malicious apps had been downloaded which affected a lot of users, out of which the majority was found to be in Europe.

All the applications on the android market are uploaded by just accepting the terms and conditions present in the Android market developer distribution agreement and do not need to pass through any approval process which acts as a shield to these scams in Apple App store and Windows Phone marketplace.

The security personnel of Android market requested Google to look through all its applications in the appstore for such abusive and malware apps.

In an earlier ZDNet Asia report, Google formulated that it would remove all the apps which violate the agreement and policies which included all those apps which included all the malware and inappropriate content carrying apps. Using this technique, Google plans to block all the abusive and untrusted developer apps.

In the month of March, over 50 apps were removed   from the appstore by Google, as they were found to contain malwares that resulted in data theft and mobile pickpocketing from users followed by even more malicious app removal from Google. According to a security researcher at Kaspersky Labs, David Emm Google needs to “put in more effort to filter out harmful application in their store. The flexibility of the Android Market is great, but that comes at a potential price to security”. David shared that “It will also 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.”

Emm admonished that the existing problems could lead to larger  breaches in the Android apps on the Google network. He even alarmed that as the market is joined to Gmail account, there could be a possible chance of the accounts being hacked and resulting as another security problem.

Meanwhile, the Android market exceeded the download of 10 billion applications since 2008.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2011-12-16 (Update: 2012-05-26)