According to the BBC, a 20-year old French hacker has been arrested for stealing around 500,000 Euros ($651,000 or £400,000) from approximately 17,000 people using malware embedded in software apps. The hacker, from Northern France, had been working out of his parents basement since 2011, programming and designing free apps that appeared very similar in appearance to popular ones. These malicious replica apps would then send text messages to premium-rate numbers without the user’s knowledge and recorded sign-in information for gaming and gambling websites. This is not an unusual hacker technique, however, it went on for over a year widely unnoticed until recently.
When the hacker was finally arrested in Amiens, he eventually ended up admitting to his crimes, claiming that he wasn’t in it for the money, but acted out of “a love of computers and an ambition to be a software developer.” It’s a little difficult to see that money wasn’t a factor considering he left the scheme running for a year.
Please keep in mind that this could happen to anyone really, so continue to be careful when downloading and ensure the source is a trustworthy one. On a positive note, we reported last week that Google has been working to reduce malware in the Play Store with their Bouncer project.