Feeds

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

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.