Mobile security threat growing on Google Play

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Scamming apps are plaguing users of the official Android application marketplace

Over 1,200 apps that were published onto the Google Play app store have been found to have been designed by “one click fraud” scammers that pose a serious mobile security threat to the Android users who use the applications.

There have been reports of victims being sent tremendous bills with a tiny amount of time in which to pay.

Some of the more common of the latest developments in mobile security scams that have occurred have involved bills of over $3,000 for what was called an annual subscription fee for an online adult video site, for which the users were given three days to pay. The latest scam variation takes more clicks than just one.

Over the last few months, mobile security threats through apps have evolved considerably.

Google Play - Mobile SecurityAccording to Symantec researcher based in Japan, Joji Hamada, “The new type not only requires clicks, but it also requires users to send an email in order to register to become a member of a service, call a given phone number to acquire a password, and enter the password to log into the fraudulent site.” Hamada added that “That’s quite a bit of work to get through just to be scammed.”

However, the users that do successfully complete the process are slammed with these tremendous bills and short periods of time in which to pay. The scammers lure people to these apps featuring mobile security threats by doing what Hamada called “abusing the search function on Google Play,” which helps to make sure that those applications remain at the head of the search results.

He explained that Symantec carried out a test on the top 24 hits for a search at Google Play and found that out of that number 21 had some form of malicious mobile security threat connected to it.

According to a research report from a team at the Information Networking Institute from Carnegie Mellon University, the people who fall victim to one click scams don’t legally owe the money for which they have been billed, but they often pay it anyway because they are too ashamed to admit that they clicked on the link, which is usually for pornographic material.

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