Google continued to wage war against malicious apps on the Android Market by removing 5 more apps which allegedly target Europeans with bouts of SMS fraud. The offending apps were removed after Lookout stumbled upon them yesterday, according to a Lookout representative who informed CNET. This means the grand total of removed apps that Lookout has called “RuFraud” (Russian Fraud) has risen to 27. These apps do look harmless at first glance, appearing to be free versions of legitimate games or wallpaper, where they were maliciously coded to charge premium SMS toll rates on European phones. These rates are deeply buried within the terms of service that nobody bothers to read anyway, and users who fall victim to it could be charged as much as $5 per SMS.
Technically speaking, these are not malware because they do not take advantage of a security vulnerability, but are still rather malicious in nature since pricing terms are not adequately disclosed to the masses. All I can say is, do be careful of the kind of apps that you download onto your Android-powered smartphone if you do not want to end up with bill shock at the end of the month.
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