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French hacker creates fake Android apps, steals over $600,000

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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French hacker creates fake Android apps, steals over $600,000
By stealing tiny amounts of money from over 17,000 users, a 20-year-old in northern France accumulated about €500,000 (roughly $653,000 or £405,000) since 2011. Working out of the basement of his parent’s home, he would create fake apps mimicking legitimate applications and would attract downloads by making them free.

Once installed, the app would send a text message to a premium-rate number he set up and collect small sums of money. The virus would also send him log on IDs and passwords to gaming and gambling sites.

Once arrested, he admitted his crimes and told authorities he was not motivated by greed. Rather, he said he simply loves computers and wants to be a software developer. He has no formal training or education but is reported to be quite smart. Of course, given he let these scam apps go on for a year and the amount of money collected during that time, it is quite difficult to accept that money was not a factor.

source: BBC

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posted on 19 Oct 2012, 01:26 9

1. drum009 (Posts: 33; Member since: 23 Jan 2012)


Props to him. I wish I knew how to program and develop software.

posted on 20 Oct 2012, 12:24

24. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


Is it really surprising that it was a STUPID French dumbass guy?!?!

posted on 21 Oct 2012, 18:52

27. webOSlove (unregistered)


^^^ See.. this is why Americans have a bad stereotype...

posted on 21 Oct 2012, 19:22

28. stiggy1 (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Nov 2008)


obviously not that stupid!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 01:48 16

2. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


Instead of sending the guy to prison, make him work in a software company and deduct part of his salary until the losses recover. I guess he might haven't spent major portion of the money he stolen, so he can pay it off immediately, while fine + remaining amount should take 1-2 years work. The guy would also get some good life and work :)

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 02:12 7

4. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


that completely violates the legitimacy of the legal system…

its like letting drunk-murderer taxi driver keep his job since he will repay his sins with his job… doesnt work like that

but if this guy had serious potential and was not motivated by money, he could have found some sort of job… comp sci is one of the fastest if not the fastest growing industries

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 02:54 6

7. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


Why on earth are you so angry? First of all he's not a drunk murderer, and also hasn't ruined anyone's life. He just has stolen a very small amounts from people. I know this is still crime, but Judge can make an exception with his/her power.

And the news clearly states that he didn't have formal education/training. There might have been something which prevented him from that. Maybe money/parents issue?

If you approach a software company without any such education proof they don't give a damn. I work in a software company and I know. Getting job is not that all easy. You shouldn't be forcing him to rot behind bars.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 06:59 7

16. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Did you ever for a moment think that this could be his illegitimate excuse as to why he did what he did? That he could have given this excuse in hopes that he'd get mercy? Even a private college doesn't cost upward of $600,000. He might, MIGHT be credible had he stopped around the $150,000 mark, but he raked in more than half a million dollars and only stopped when he got caught. I honestly can't believe you think this is okay...

I will only slightly agree with you if he has all $600,000 in an account somewhere saved up for school.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 17:19

22. metalpoet (unregistered)


His abilities and the situation that he createdf is how spy movies start, once a criminal with a great talent becomes the governments greatest asset :)

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 05:51 4

14. Aeires (unregistered)


iPhone production line at Foxconn would be poetic.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 01:50 10

3. tiara6918 (Posts: 1396; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)


Too bad he did the crime:( I can see that he may have a very good potential since he wanted to be a software developer but not use his skills on acts like this.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 02:34 5

5. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


well, enjoy that 'open' android...

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 02:53 3

6. Kostas_13 (Posts: 43; Member since: 07 Sep 2012)


Yeap, who knows what else exists in this vast "space" of Google Play.
But such things happen to popular OSs

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 02:57 5

8. lyndon420 (Posts: 1733; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Oh...do you use one of those perfect OS's that never published a fake or misleading app? Which one would that be, if I may ask?

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 03:04 8

10. Kostas_13 (Posts: 43; Member since: 07 Sep 2012)


Actually, no one can deny that Google has been acting kinda greedy when it came to apps.
Google wanted its store to grow bigger than Apples one, and for that reason security and app review by Google staff (before being upped to the store) was not a priority. On the contrary, Apple was on the safe side, and approval of new apps was very strict, thus cleaning more crap before allowing entrance to its store...
All OSs have flaws, but history has proven that Google has the most. And that's because of Googles passion to become number one in no-time.
By the way, I use Android.
FANBOY OF NONE!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 05:57 5

15. Aeires (unregistered)


I don't see that. What I do see is Google making big strides in cleaning up their market. Anyone that's used Android for more than two years can attest to how much the market has improved.

Open systems have drawbacks, this guy exploited one. And unfortunately every system has problems of some sort. No OS is immune.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 03:00 4

9. eisenbricher (Posts: 971; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


Do you really think that only Android is so insecure? Stuff likes this happens in every other OS. Hackers can target anything that's hugely popular for such purposes.

posted on 21 Oct 2012, 18:52

26. webOSlove (unregistered)


exactly. every OS isnt completely secure... for example, webOS was built on open web standards, so any developer thatknows HTML5, CSS, or Javascript could hack theApp Catalog. i use webOS as an example because i know more about it than i do iOS, and all the others

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:12 1

17. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


just like having an open society - it comes with the good and bad. Rather have that than an orderly society where I am told what to do each day....like APPLE.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 03:18 4

11. BiN4RY (Posts: 81; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


"Working out of the basement of his parent’s home..."

Oh boy why am I not surprised

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 03:42 3

12. Savage (unregistered)


So this is taco50's revenge.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 04:20 4

13. sammyfan (Posts: 21; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


20 year old can make 17,000 people fool.. HATSOFF!!!

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 12:43 1

18. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


the reason he didn't stole more money in the Google Store is because we all know that Android users love free apps.. let see if he tried that Sh!t in Apple...

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:01 3

19. Aeires (unregistered)


http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/hack-warning-on-itunes-accounts-20120619-20lps.html

http://www.informationweek.com/security/vulnerabilities/apple-in-app-store-hacked/240003719

No OS is completely invulnerable from hackers.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 13:26

20. gallitoking (Posts: 4684; Member since: 17 May 2011)


it was an invitation to this hacker not an open invitation to anyone.. thanks for pointing out the obvious

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 14:00 1

21. Aeires (unregistered)


Try reading the articles before replying with a totally incorrect answer. Both articles are about Apple products being hacked, then information sold or steps posted to duplicate the process.

posted on 19 Oct 2012, 22:27

23. stiggy1 (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Nov 2008)


Send him to Nokia and maybe he can save them!!!

posted on 20 Oct 2012, 23:15

25. flipjzn (Posts: 144; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


This sucks, I wish google would tell us which apps so we know if purchased those apps and perhap get refund. Google is still liable for this.

posted on 22 Oct 2012, 00:38

29. techspace (Posts: 631; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


is avast mobile security good enough to stop stuff like this?
on a rooted android phone?

posted on 19 Dec 2012, 10:11

30. Luciana90 (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Dec 2012)


Yeah, I heard about it here scanandtrust[dot]com Cray-zyyy and so many of us just paid...
I guess this one just wanted to make money but imagine if the apps were malware///
Just saying...

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