Google pulls more SMS fraud-related Android apps

Lookout says five more dubious apps--designed to do nothing more than charge premium SMS toll rates on European phones--have been pulled from the Android Market.

Google has removed five additional apps from the Android Market that mobile-security firm Lookout alleges appear to be engaged in SMS fraud targeting Europeans.

The apps were removed after Lookout discovered them yesterday, a Lookout representative told CNET today. That brings the total number of apps removed that Lookout has dubbed "RuFraud" (Russian Fraud) to 27, the representative said.

The apps, which appear to be free versions of legitimate games or wallpaper, are designed to do nothing more than charge premium SMS toll rates on European phones, according to Lookout. The rates are buried within the terms of service, and users may not realize that they will be charged $5 per SMS, according to the firm.

Technically, the apps aren't malware because they aren't designed to take advantage of a security vulnerability. But apps can still be pulled from the market, if they don't adequately disclose pricing terms, or if they infringe on copyrighted material.

Google confirmed yesterday that it had removed 22 Lookout-identified fraudulent apps, before the firm found the five additional ones, but it did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest apps found.

Here is the most up-to-date list of the apps:

This is the list of 27 apps flagged by Lookout for alleged fraudulent behavior that have been removed from the Android Market.
This is the list of 27 apps flagged by Lookout for alleged fraudulent behavior that have been removed from the Android Market. Lookout

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