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30,000 Android users fooled into buying bogus anti-virus app at $3.99 a pop

Posted: , by Alan F.

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30,000 Android users fooled into buying bogus anti-virus app at $3.99 a pop
First appearing in the Google Play Store on March 28th, Virus Shield soon became the third most popular paid app in the market. Priced at $3.99, Virus Shield was supposed to search through your Android smartphone, looking for viruses, all without affecting the battery life on the handset. Android users ate it up. Bolstered by a number of five-star reviews, 30,000 paid subscribers had signed up after one week. As it turns out, all of these people were scammed.

So what did the developer, Deviant Solutions, claim that the app did? The description of the app claimed that it "Prevents harmful apps from being installed on your device...scans apps, settings, files, and media in real time... and protects your personal information." It also claimed to have very little effect on battery life, and had no ads. The only problem is that all the app did was change an image with an "X" to one with a check mark after a single tap of the screen.

A report published on Friday said that decompiling the code revealed that the app was worthless. In response to this report, Jesse Carter, the developer, claimed that it was all a mistake. Carter said that the app uploaded to the Google Play Store was a placeholder that was accidentally switched for the version with the anti-virus code. Which seems hard to believe considering that the Virus Shield was updated from version 1.0 to version 2.2 during the period it was available in the Google Play Store.

The good news is that the app has been pulled from the store, and everyone who paid for Virus Shield should be getting their $3.99 back. What is amazing is that many of the four and five star ratings were legit. 


source: The Guardian, AndroidPolice via MobileSyrup

78 Comments
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posted on 11 Apr 2014, 14:52 18

1. Ninetysix (Posts: 1349; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Android users are very smart. They will never fall for something like this...oh wait :( n/m..

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:13 15

7. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 356; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)


The app is popular with good reviews so I don't get how it's the users fault. Google should screen the store more heavily.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:38 8

37. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 161; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


The first issue I see is people putting an AV program on a damn phone.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 20:28

47. vincelongman (Posts: 941; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Also AV program from an unknown company and for Android which like all other mobile OSes doesn't need one
The dev probably bought 99.99% of those purchase himself

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:25 16

10. tedkord (Posts: 4264; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Yes, that 0.004% of android users really means something.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:06 5

24. papss (unregistered)


Ted it still is 30000 folks which is nonsense

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:11 2

26. Finalflash (Posts: 1429; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


He has a point though, that is pretty much a rounding error if anything.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:38 1

31. ecmedic4 (Posts: 192; Member since: 02 May 2013)


I would consider 30,000 ppl a big deal, considering at 3.99 a pop, that is $119,700.00 which is a crap load of money.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:14 1

34. androtaku (Posts: 154; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)


bogus apps as top paid item in play store also really mean something

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 06:53

60. JunitoNH (Posts: 834; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


Well it was pull from the store, if left unchecked, who knows how many would had end up paying for it.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:30 2

11. akki20892 (Posts: 3237; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


AVG for me....

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:31 6

13. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


Nothing for me, i've got a Windows phone.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:37 8

16. akki20892 (Posts: 3237; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Soon for me same as you....#930

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 23:33 1

53. express77 (unregistered)


i am on android. no antivirus, no issue.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:02 5

21. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6118; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Smart you say? I never or have the NEED buying a VIRUS app for my ANDROID Phone. So I'm one of the smart ones here.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 20:48 1

48. blingblingthing (Posts: 418; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


Exactly, keep getting apps from Playstore or from XDA. simple

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:05

23. verbalize (Posts: 77; Member since: 03 May 2013)


LOL. I love this..

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:18 4

35. KParks23 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


All samsung users!

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:37 2

36. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 161; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


The first issue I see is people putting an AV program on a damn phone.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:39 1

38. MR-H- (Posts: 116; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)


So what's the big deal,,,,? It's only 4$,,, considering how much Apple rips of its users is astronomical,,,!

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:45 2

40. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


30,000 users out of......1 billion

I will take those odds... all day every day.....

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 20:23 1

46. vincelongman (Posts: 941; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Actually 99.99% of those were most likely fake and bought by the dev

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 21:38 1

49. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Might be right since it was so many positive reviews...or fake reviews.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 04:22 1

58. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 458; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Like 30.000 users are representative for all millions of Android users.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 13:57

73. amasog (Posts: 129; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


you nailed it man! LOL!!!!!!!

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 14:53 1

2. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1191; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Google needs to go after them for their users...

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 14:54

3. mayur007 (Posts: 356; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


i thought only apple knows it how to fool people .. :P

google too can

bcoz google is responsible for this apps surviving .. now gone though

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 14:59

4. hurrycanger (Posts: 762; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)


Wow, this sucks...
I feel bad for these people who were willing to pay for this crap.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 13:58

74. amasog (Posts: 129; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


remember, they are android users!! you see how gullible they are?? LOLOLOLOL!!

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:01 4

5. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 2606; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Man my brain my memory glitch fck. this is atleast 2 week old news and if i'm not wrong you published it last week.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:48

20. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1683; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


And here I was thinking PA is slow at reporting WP related news. Are you sure they've posted this before?

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:10 2

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7317; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Yes they have. I believe it was three days ago.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:15

29. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


http://www.phonearena.com/news/Popular-Virus-Scan-app-outed-as-a-scam-and-pulled-from-Google-Play_id54883

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:04

6. hassoups (Posts: 253; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


if they have the playstore, they have play services, so why the hell do they still feel the need to install an antivirus app?

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:34 5

14. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


Cuz Google is letting every stupid app to be in the play store, unlike Apple and Microsoft that they both have secured stores.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:04 5

22. tedkord (Posts: 4264; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


http://www.cnet.com/news/researchers-slip-malware-onto-apples-app-store-again/

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:12 2

27. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


I think it's easier to put an app with virus in it at the play store the App store.
I've got a windows phone, so i don't really care about Apple.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:46 2

41. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Doesnt matter....his post put you claim to bed.

No app store is perfect.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:56 2

43. PBXtech (Posts: 966; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


He still thinks Windows doesn't get viruses. Anyone who believes that has no credibility.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 19:03 4

44. PBXtech (Posts: 966; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


That's funny because there are anti-virus apps in the WP store.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 19:19 3

45. tedkord (Posts: 4264; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Once the Windows App Store starts getting real apps it will also become a target.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 21:40

50. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Exactly...look at Firefox from when it first launched to now.

And before anyone says duh ...what about iOS....OS X isnt squeaky clean, bullet proof.....I expect iOS isnt either...

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:46 3

33. hassoups (Posts: 253; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


I agree. To all those saying it's because it's an open os, Google play services are anything but open source. This is being lazy on google's behalf.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 02:11 1

56. blingblingthing (Posts: 418; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


Boy do I love reading this non sense of "my platform is virus free". Dude with a mac told me this. I asked how do you know it's virus free. He said he just doesn't have any viruses.

He doesn't have an anti virus. So I asked it safari would give him a virus detection pop up. He pauses.

Thing is. Without an antivirus. You merely are trusting you don't have a virus. I don't have an antivirus on my phone because I get apps from playstore and xda. Simple. If you are getting apps from shady sources. You can protect your self. I don't.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 16:05

75. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Exactly..

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 16:13

76. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I'm sure I could find examples of malware, virus for OS X, Safari....

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:19 2

8. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1683; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


So he made about 120,000 dollars. What more does he need in his life now?

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:38

17. fzacek (Posts: 1174; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


Hopefully he needs to pay back all that money.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:46 1

19. akki20892 (Posts: 3237; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Wrong.......

http://static.gamespot.com/uploads/original/702/7026998/2395689-4576297224-wrong.gif

Its a 119700 dollars.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 16:32 1

30. Jommick (Posts: 169; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


>about 120000

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 06:58

61. JunitoNH (Posts: 834; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


Is call rounding figures geez.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:23 3

9. 1701nino (Posts: 227; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


This is a page where google can learn from apple,in somw cases "waled garden" is a good thing.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 15:30 3

12. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


Only the android needs an antivirus.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 22:11 1

51. shuaibhere (Posts: 1297; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Lol....how ignorant you are....don't you know that windows has most anti virus apps....so it's sibling will get all of them once it becomes famous...

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 00:34

54. AfterShock (Posts: 2073; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


I was going to just say, as compared to what, security through obscurity, then I realized..most WP sold are bottom feeders, bottom rung, under a $100,with low cash flow an limited apps that can be easily scrutinized.

So it does seem, being nothing more then a popcorn fart against the big systems, works, and I'd guess for quite some time. .

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 03:23

57. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1683; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


That's a gentle way of hiding the security issues with Android bro.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 06:49 1

59. AfterShock (Posts: 2073; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Wasn't it like two or three weeks ago, WP store had a couple apps mimicking real apps and being sold through them?

It was right here on PA.
This is not a security issue, its a sham app that is harmless, but has been caught.

Much ado over nought.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:53 1

64. sip1995 (Posts: 639; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


Clone apps are different than the apps with VIRUS.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 08:51 1

66. AfterShock (Posts: 2073; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Show us one virus laden app from play store?
I'll wait for a link.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 10:00 1

69. NokiaFTW (Posts: 1683; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


There are many, not one. It'll take some time for all the links to show up, I know you'll be waiting. :)

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