The Android Market is a fairly open environment, for better or worse. The obvious downside of this relative freedom is that there’s occasionally a few bad apples in the barrel, ruining it for everyone.
RuFraud is another ‘premium number SMS bomber’ type of trojan that, once installed on your phone, will start sending out texts to premium numbers, leaving you to foot the bill.
The trojan, masquerading alternatively as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope downloads (as well as Twilight wallpapers and horoscope readers) buries the hidden charges in the terms of service and layers of links.
RuFraud reportedly affected users in Europe and parts of the Middle East including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Israel. North American users
Though Google has taken action and removed these reported apps, Lookout is saying that “the fraudsters have posted 13 new supposed downloaders to the Android Market, once again positioned as free versions of popular games.”
There’s no mention of which games exactly, but we’d advise you to steer well clear of any non-official apps that you see in the Market. Anything Angry Birds that’s not made by Rovio ought to be treated with suspicion, ditto anything Cut The Rope related that’s not come from Chillingo Ltd.
If you’re looking for a horoscopes app or any kind of utility, have a look at the app page itself on the Market. Does the developer have a website? Does they look legitimate?
If you’re ever in doubt of something, even if it looks like a harmless Hello Kitty wallpaper or whatever, stay away.
Lookout has released an over-the-air update to its own Security and Antivirus app which “protects users from all known instances of RuFraud,” as well as doubling as a handy phone-finding app.
Personally we can vouch for Lookout’s phone-finding function; it’s saved our bacon on one occasion. Whether you ever have to use the Antivirus feature of the app or not, we’d advise you to exercise caution whenever you’re looking for games, wallpapers, or anything.