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

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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27 Comments

1. drum009

Posts: 33; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

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

24. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

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

27. webOSlove unregistered

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

28. stiggy1

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 16, 2008

obviously not that stupid!!

2. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 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 :)

4. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 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

7. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 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.

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.

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 :)

14. Aeires unregistered

iPhone production line at Foxconn would be poetic.

3. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 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.

5. BillyG

Posts: 305; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

well, enjoy that 'open' android...

6. Kostas_13

Posts: 43; Member since: Sep 07, 2012

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

9. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 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.

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

17. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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.

11. BiN4RY

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

"Working out of the basement of his parent’s home..." Oh boy why am I not surprised

12. Savage unregistered

So this is taco50's revenge.

13. sammyfan

Posts: 21; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

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

18. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 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...

20. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

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

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.

23. stiggy1

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 16, 2008

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

25. flipjzn

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 22, 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.

29. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

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

30. Luciana90

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 19, 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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