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Android app fined $79,000 for sneaky charges


Models pose with Samsung Galaxy S2s during its launch in Seoul, Korea on April 28, 2011. The Galaxy S2 runs on the Android operating system, which just racked up its 10 billionth app download for Google.


Jung Yeon-Je

Russian app developer Connect Ltd. has been fined £50,000, or about $79,000, by UK regulator Phonepay Plus, Digital Spy reported. Customers downloaded the Android application for games. But after the games were installed, the sneaky app sent a text message from the users' phones without warning. The text cost each user £10.

Connect Ltd, which trades as SMSBill, gives little indication of these charges. It only says in its terms and conditions that "charges of about £5" are incurred to phone users after they install the app, according to the Daily Telegraph

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However, even those weak warnings were buried on page 6 of the terms. "You have to read the small print and people never do," a senior technology consultant at Sophos told BBC News. "They were sneaky with the wording."

And a video posted on Naked Security shows how the malware automatically gets downloaded onto a user's Android phone.