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Six Japanese arrested for Android malware scam

Six men arrested for distributing Android app that steals user info and swindles people of money in what is Japan's first police case involving distribution of mobile malware, report notes.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor on

Japan has arrested six men for allegedly distributing a virus-infected application and swindling some 21 million yen (US$265,062) from smartphone users.

The application, uploaded on an adult site on Dec. 30, 2011, was made available for free and targeted people using Android-powered devices, according to The Daily Yomiuri's report on Thursday, citing Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department. Once downloaded, the app opens up with a screen that demands 99,800 yen (US$129.98) every five minutes. The app also steals users' personal details such as their phone numbers and e-mail addresses, it added.

A total of 9,252 users have downloaded the app, of which 211 of them paid about 21 million yen in fictitious fees, senior police officials revealed. Many users, after finding out that the app developer had obtained their personal details--which was displayed on the screen alongside the demand for payment--eventually gave the amount requested, the report stated.

This is the first time in Japan the police are pursuing a case involving the distribution of a smartphone virus, The Daily Yomiuri noted.

McAfee said in a 2011 report that the Android operating system had become the most targeted mobile platform, and that it could increasingly become a target for cybercriminals.

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