Six individuals have been arrested by authorities in Tokyo on suspicion of earning more than $250,000 (190,000 EUR) from smartphone owners who unknowingly installed an Android malware on their devices.
According to Daily Yomiuri
, this is the first such case investigated by the Japan’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Many security solutions providers have released reports
on shady Android apps that targeted Chinese and Japanese users, and as it turns out, some of them have made a large number of victims.
This particular program, served as a video player on adult websites, has been downloaded by a total of 9,252 individuals, 211 of which were duped into paying a certain amount of money.
So, how did the malicious program actually work?
Once installed on a phone, a screen would pop up every five minutes, urging the victim to pay a fictitious fee of around $1,200 (910 EUR).
“Please pay the fees as soon as possible. You need to confirm the unpaid amount. It totals 99,800 yen,” read the alert seen by the victims.
The app was also designed to steal phone numbers, email addresses and any other valuable information it could find, storing it all on a server located overseas.
The defendants are not only suspected of using the malware, but also of developing it.
One of them, Chitoru Manago, aged 45, is the former executive of a defunct IT company from Tokyo. Two others also hold executive titles at different information technology organizations.
This situation is a perfect example that cybercriminals don’t need a large number of victims to make a considerable profit.
In this case only a small percentage of the Android users who downloaded the app took the bait, which may indicate that a lot of people are aware of such scams. On the other hand, it’s clear that even 200 victims is a lot, and the $250,000 (190,000 EUR) made by the con artists prove it.