A premium app called Virus Shield managed to climb to the top of the paid charts in the Google Play store, before it was discovered to be a scam and removed. The app was $3.99, had over 10,000 downloads and had been in the store for two weeks.
Discovered by Android Police, Virus Shield is a genuine scam. It promises one click protection against viruses, scanning for malware, data protection and minimal battery impact. However, the app actually only did one thing – change an ‘X’ image to a tick. Searching the app’s code confirmed this is all Virus Shield did.
Image: Android Police
This exposes the problems with having a relatively open system like Google Play does. While apps can get on the store easily and quickly, there is minimal filtering except for malware. Virus Shield is not traditional malware, it is just a scam to get money from unsuspecting Android users.
Google Play does scan for malware, but Virus Shield didn’t contain malicious code. This suggests that Google’s automated system for letting apps into the store doesn’t check if apps do what they say they do.
Virus Shield has now been removed by Google, but thousands of Android users have already been duped into spending $3.99 on an app that did nothing. If you have the app, be aware that your device is not protected by it!
Source: Android Police