Hackers’ latest scam on Android users did not even involve any malware or information theft—all it did was simply charge customers $3.99 for a fake antivirus app in the Google Play Store.
“’Virus Shield,” created by Deviant Solutions, was advertised as antivirus app that will protect “you and your personal information from harmful viruses, malware, and spyware.” It also boldly claims to “improve the speed of your phone,” as well as block all those “pesky advertisements” smartphone users have come to detest. The creators market that it will run in the background of your phone and hardly impact your phone’s battery performance.
The problem is, the entire thing was a scam. 10,000 security-minded Android users who downloaded the app got completely duped. The app skyrocketed to the top of the Play Store since its introduction last week, and it even garnered a 4.5 star review from over 1,700 people, despite being completely ineffective. So what exactly does it do? Apparently, the app only changes an official-looking red “X” into a red “check”—that’s it. The developer must have been laughing all the way to the bank.
At $3.99 per download, the “Deviant” developers have earned some $40,000. The creator was tracked down by investigators and is allegedly a repeated scammer who has been banned from various online outlets. Android Police pointed out that Deviant Solutions do not even have a website or information on the internet.
Google has since removed the app from the App Store, but not before thousands of people fell victim to this ridiculous ploy.