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'Angry Birds' among apps removed from Google's Android Market after scam

Google has said a number of fraudulent apps have been removed from its Android Market store.

A Samsung phone with Google's Android operating software
A Samsung phone with Google's Android operating software
Image: Lee Jin-man/AP/Press Association Images

GOOGLE HAS HAD to remove a number applications from its Android Market after it was discovered they contained fraudulent software which scammed users into sending premium text messages.

Apps that posed as popular third-party software such as Angry Birds and Tetris contained a so-called RuFraud scam whereby users are tricked into sending premium rate text messages.

BBC News explains that the scam made users believe they were about to download an app or a programme when in fact they were giving the phone permission to send a text message costing around €3.50.

Google has said that all the apps have now been removed. Unlike other app services such as Apple’s App Store, software applications are not vetted before they appear on the Android Market.

A mobile security company in California, Lookout, said it believed the fraud originated in Russia and that to date there were 27 fraudulent apps which are listed in full on a blog post.

The company estimates that there had been over 14,000 downloads of these apps.

Google has come under fire for its decision not to vet apps before they are uploaded to the Android Market.

Earlier this year it had to delete 21 applications after it was discovered they were secretly installing malware on devices, according to Ars Technica.

PC World advises that Android and indeed any smartphone users should stick with the apps that are more heavily downloaded and reviewed. “Let the community be your police,” author Tony Bradley writes.

Read: Google launches music store to rival iTunes

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Hugh O'Connell

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