The UK’s premium grade phone company regulator, A1 Agregator Limited has been penalised £50,000 (around $78,300), and arranged to repay all fees charged to consumers, for spreading malicious version of best-selling Android games, including Angry Birds, Assassins Creed and Cut the Rope.
“To users, the fake games downloaded properly but appeared never to launch correctly after install. In reality, on launch the apps sent the user three hidden SMS messages at a cost of 5 pounds ($7.80) each, The messages were hidden in such a way that the phone user would have no idea the messages existed until receiving the bill.”
writes Kotaku’s Kate Cox.
“PhonepayPlus said that approximately 14,000 downloads of the malicious apps were made worldwide, and the fraud is thought to have affected 1,391 mobile numbers in the UK with £27,850 [approximately $43,600] taken before the shortcode was suspended,”
writes Digital Spy’s Andrew Laughlin.
“It happened to John Gladstone from Southampton,” writes BBC News’ Jim Taylor. “The 31-year-old engineer bought his first smartphone just before Christmas. ‘I was full of excitement,’ he said. ‘I opened the box and downloaded every app that I could see on the Android market which had good reviews or if I recognised the name.’ He only realised he’d been conned when his phone provider told him he’d been sending premium messages.”