Feeds

Android dev smacked with £50k fine over premium rate SMS scam

PhonepayPlus: You'll have to refund punters too...

SANS - Survey on application security programs

UK regulator PhonepayPlus has fined a Russian firm £50,000 after it was found guilty of peddling a deceptive Android application that signed unwitting victims up to a premium-rate text service.

Connect Ltd, trading as SMSBill, reportedly promised access to Android games. After the app was installed, a text message was also sent to a premium-rate number, generating a £10 charge on victims' phones from the resulting auto-reply message. After being charged, the consumer was redirected to the 7mobi.net "GamePortal", where they could play games.

The terms and conditions for the application only explained that a charge would be incurred six pages into the small print, and even then inaccurately suggested only a £5 charge would be incurred.

The dodgy behaviour was spotted by security researchers at Sophos. SophosLabs researcher Vanja Svajcer discovered a malicious link on Facebook that led to malware being downloaded onto his Android smartphone back in February. Aggrieved punters also lodged complaints about lack of pricing information and charging without consent with PhonepayPlus, prompting an investigation.

Connect Ltd was last week found guilty of "very serious" breaches of the PhonepayPlus Code of Practice for premium-rate phone services, as explained in more detail in an adjudication.

The unregistered service provider was ordered to refund affected customers within the next three months as well as paying the £50,000 fine. In addition, Connect Ltd is also obliged to lodge any proposals for new premium-rate services to the regulator before releasing them in the UK, during a probationary period of two years.

Consumers spent between £100,000 to £250,000 on the service, according to PhonepayPlus, although it is unclear how much revenue Connect Ltd itself made from the dodgy Android app.

More commentary on the information security aspects of the case can be found in a blog post by Sophos here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.