Five Japanese detained for data theft

The five arrested are allegedly responsible for distributing malware in video apps for Android smartphones which affected 90,000 people, in what is Japan's largest information theft case.

The Japanese police has arrested five people for being involved in creating and embedding a virus into smartphone applications, which resulted in more than 10 million pieces of personal information stolen from users.

According to The Daily Yomiuri's report on Wednesday, Tokyo's metropolitan police department said some 90,000 people's smartphones were found infected with a virus hiding in mobile apps they had downloaded. This is the largest information theft case in Japan so far, it noted. 

Among the five arrested was the man who allegedly created video apps that contained a virus which extracts personal information stored on mobile phones.

The man, who runs an IT-related company, worked with another female IT professional to release the free apps on Google's app store in late March and was downloaded 270,000 times, according to unnamed sources.The malware would then transmit users' personal information, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses to an external server.

The stolen information found on the server has not been used by the malware developers but the police is investigating the motive of the crime, the report noted.

Cases of malicious smartphone apps being distributed are not new in the country. In June, the Japanese police arrested six men for distributing a virus-infected application which similarly targeted people using Android devices, and swindled some 21 million yen (US$265,062) from them.