Angry Birds malware – Firm fined £50,000 for profiting from fake Android apps

A firm has been fined £50,000 after Trojan versions of popular Android apps secretly sent expensive SMS messages to premium rate numbers.

UK industry regulator PhonepayPlus uncovered that 1,391 mobile phone numbers in the UK had been stung by the scam, that targeted Android owners who downloaded Trojan horse versions of popular games such as “Angry Birds”, “Assassins Creed” and “Cut the Rope”.

Each time innocent users would start one of the apps it would send three premium rate text messages, costing £15. Charges would continue to mount unless users removed the offending app.

Swift action by the authorities in shutting down the SMS shortcode used by the malware meant that only
£27,850 was taken, and funds were stopped from reaching the bogus app’s developers.

But, according to PhonepayPlus,…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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