Suspected Android SMS malware author arrested in France

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

France AndroidFrench police have arrested a 20-year-old man in Northern France, in connection with an attack that infected thousands of Android smartphones with money-making malware.

According to the authorities, the man worked out of his parents basement in the city of Amiens, creating fake apps that pretended to be legitimate applications. The man’s apps are said to have sent SMS text messages without the user’s approval, allowing him to earn mobile payments.

According to a BBC News report, prosecutors claim the man stole money from 17,000 victims, earning him approximately 500,000 Euros (£405,000) since 2011.

In addition, usernames and passwords were said to have been stolen by the Android malware from the users of gaming and gambling websites.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

Police say that the man admitted his guilty after he was arrested, but reportedly claimed that he was not motivated by greed but by his love for computer technology.

The problem of Android SMS malware is not a new one, and SophosLabs frequently encounters rogue applications which surreptitiously send expensive text messages from victims’ smartphones.

In the past, cybercriminals have disguised their Android apps to trick people into believing they were installing versions of popular apps such as Angry Birds and Instagram and Skype.

Earlier this year, French police arrested two men in connection with the Foncy Trojan horse that sent expensive SMS messages from infected Android smartphones.

If you want to better protect your Android device, try out Sophos’s free anti-virus and privacy app.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.