Industry News

French Hacker Arrested for ‘Smartphone App Fraud’

A young man was arrested in Northern France after defrauding 17,000 people with a virus hidden in applications for handsets.

In less than two years, the 20-year-old managed to steal from thousands of people small amounts of money that added up to a total of 500,000 euros.

He used his parents’ residence in France to con victims into downloading applications advertised as free. Under a camouflage of original apps, the rogue software was designed to make hidden transaction and siphon from as many people as possible petty sums of money that wouldn’t draw the attention of the victims.

Once downloaded, the phony application would silently send a text message to a pre-set premium-rate number. Apparently, some applications were also looking to collect victim’s log-in credentials for gaming or gambling online locations.

“It appears smartphones that use Google software were the most susceptible”, says the BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris.

Police apprehended the hacker in Amiens, Northern France and obtained a full confession from him. Even though he didn’t study computer science in school, the young man, characterized by the police as extremely smart, always wanted to be a software developer and explained his deeds were never motivated by greed.

About the author


A blend of teacher and technical journalist with a pinch of e-threat analysis, Loredana Botezatu writes mostly about malware and spam. She believes that most errors happen between the keyboard and the chair. Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years and has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.


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