An app claiming to be an antivirus solution climbed the charts as a top paid app in the Play Store.
After a week of news regarding Android not attracting developers because they aren’t able to earn money, this app, Virus Shield was able to get thousands of purchases in a short amount of time — quite impressive after only being available for a couple of weeks
The problem is the app is a fake, a scam really. It does not scan for nor does it detect malware on Android devices.
The app doesn’t do much but change the protection status and run a progress bar in the notification area. Although it appears to do a scan, it does not and has very limited functionality.
The app is no longer in the Play Store and was first reported by Android Police.
It’s kind of a mystery how Google vets apps, we know of some things like Bouncer–which checks for malicious code. This Virus Shield app doesn’t raise many red flags, very few permissions and pretty generic code, so I can see how it got through.
I doubt Google verifies an apps functionality vs. its description before it’s published.
Whether the developer of Virus Shield was able to spoof its installs is not known yet, but selling for $3.99 and over 10K installs is potentially a big score.
Scams have been a part of the world as long as we’ve been putting a value on things and fake security apps very popular on all platforms. We suggest sticking to trusted names and sources for security.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile offers free protection against malware, PUPs, and aggressive add-ons, it also comes with Privacy Manager which displays apps with access to risky areas of your device.
MBAM Mobile detects VirusShield as Android/FakeApp.VirusShield