MOBILESPACE—The Symantec blog reported Monday that one-click fraud apps from Japan first noticed a year ago can now be found on Google Play by way of easy keyword searches.
“One-click fraud refers to a scam that attempts to lure users interested in adult-related video to a site that attempts to trick them into registering for a paid service,” wrote Joji Hamada in the blog post. “For many years, it has been common to see this type of fraud on computers. As smartphone usage has increased, so has the number of these types of scams on smartphone devices.”
The fraud came to Android apps last year, said Hamada, who wrote at the time, “The fact that this type of fraud can determine a user’s phone number and email address is a frightening development for smartphone users. In the past this has not been possible. Who knows how many ways these personal details could be exploited for future scams?”
Now, he writes a year later, “The apps can easily be found on Google Play through keyword searches in the same manner as an internet search. For example, entering Japanese words related to pornographic video results in one of these apps being at the top of the search results at the time of writing.”
Activating the fraud often only takes one click, he adds, when the user accepts the ‘Network communication’ permission. “This is because the app is simply used as a vehicle to lure users to the scam by opening fraudulent porn sites,” he writes. “The app itself has no other functionality.” It’s that very simplicity, he adds, that “may fool users into feeling safe about the app and catch them off guard when launching the app.”
Symantec advises people to only download apps from trusted sources, to install a security app from either them or Norton, and to check out their mobile security site for general tips on keeping your smartphone and tablet as safe as possible.
Image:One of the developers hosting the apps on Google Play, courtesy of Symantec.com.