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13 December 2011, 11:30

Google removes 22 malicious apps from the Android Market

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Zoom The malicious apps present users a single option to continue. Clicking next will result in premium SMS charges
Over the last week, the Security Team at Lookout Mobile Security discovered a total of 22 malicious apps in Google's official Android Market. In a post on their blog, the researchers say that these apps purported to be well-known third-party apps, such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, but contained "RuFraud" malware.

The RuFraud-infested applications take advantage of Premium Short Codes to commit SMS toll fraud. Once downloaded and launched, the infected applications present users with a single option to continue; Lookout presumes this to be "an agreement to premium charges that are buried within layers of less than clear links".

Lookout says that this malware only affects users in certain European countries; these include the UK, France and Germany. However, the security firm notes that "North American users were not affected as the fraudulent SMS code is gated on the user’s country (as indicated by their SIM)".

The researchers estimate that these malicious apps have been downloaded approximately 14,000 times. After reporting them to Google, they have been removed from the Android Market.

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