Porn Seekers Finding $1K Bogus Apps in Google Play, Symantec Says

Apr 1, 2013 4:00 PM PST

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — More than 200 fraudulent Android apps in the Google Play marketplace are bamboozling Japanese-language porn seekers into shelling out $1,000 for bogus services, security firm Symantec said in a blog post today.

The 200 apps have been published by 50 developers and cost 99,000 yen, or about $1,000, Symantec said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based security firm said that the apps have been downloaded at least 5,000 times in the past two months since it started tracking the services.

In the cases Symantec is following, the apps send users to porn sites that require a service fee.   

"Typically, the apps only require the user to accept the 'network communication' permission, although some variants do not require the user to accept any permissions," according to Symantec. "This is because the app is simply used as a vehicle to lure users to the scam by opening fraudulent porn sites. The app itself has no other functionality. This may fool users into feeling safe about the app and catch them off guard when launching the app."

Symantec said that there must be enough users installing the apps to convince developers to continue with the scamming.

"We are now seeing multiple developers fiercely publishing apps in bulk on a daily basis," Symantec said.

Symantec said there are also developers who have been publishing fake dating service apps that act in the same manner.

"When looking for apps, we recommend downloading them from trusted sources regardless of where the apps are hosted or found. Installing a security app," Symantec said

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