Rogue smartphone apps run up giant phonebills

7 November 2011

android_appsSome seemingly innocent apps are actually filthy malware that will secretly send expensive messages which will run up your bill no end and, according to experts/people who stand to make money from securing your phone, these rogue apps are on the rise.

Fraudsters are planting rogue apps that sit in the back-end of mobiles, which send messages and make expensive calls to premium-rate services that don't show up in the sent messages folder or call history.

Some messages are costing as much as £6 a pop and some of the malware sends these messages at a rate of one per minute. You'll only become aware of it when you get a unpleasant surprise with the cost of your phonebill. Which is nice.

Rik Ferguson, director of the cyber security website and of security research at Trend Micro, says: "This type of malware is capable of sending a steady stream of text messages to premium rate numbers. The user won’t know this is taking place, even if they happen to be using the device at the same time, as the activity takes place within the device’s “back end” infrastructure. This can often continue for weeks before being noticed."

The malware is typically hidden in apps that look like games or security tools. Once you download it, the malware enables fraudsters to take control of the victim’s phone. This in turn enables them to access your personal info and payment data.

Online fraud should be reported to If you've been hit by the ‘premium rate SMS scam’ then get in touch with PhonepayPlus via

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile   Privacy   Scams


  • PokeHerPete
    This is where the Android fails. Why do you think Apple are so closed? Its not just because they are cunts. On my (not jailbroken) iPhone I feel safe with any app I install, my only worry is if the app is shit (which is often the case). Whereas on the HTC Desire Im concerned with every app install, infact I just keep it to the big companies like Skype and Spotify.
  • Dick
    I agree with Pete. Apple want to make sure they are the only ones that rape you for your cash, and not let anyone else have the chance.
  • Phil
    And this is the reason Android has a remote app kill switch which google have and will use. Don't get all excited apple fan boys!
  • » M.
    [...] Bitterwallet [...]
  • Smartphone b.
    [...] is MoneyCrooks turn to smartphone malware, warns (blog)BBC News -Bitterwallet -Public Serviceall 38 news [...]
  • tin
    Time finally for the robbin mobile phone companies to have a method of completely disallowing these premium texts, or setting a daily/weekly/monthly cash limit. The technology is there, they'd just prefer to charge your arse and pretend there was nothing they could have done about it.

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