Google removes scam antivirus app from Play store

Scam alert

A security app for Google's Android operating system that received over 10,000 downloads in the space of a week has been pulled from the Play app store after it emerged the software was a scam.

The $4 (2.40) product, named Virus Shield, promised to "[prevent] harmful apps from being installed on your device ... [scan] apps, settings, files and media in real time ... [and serve] ZERO pesky advertisements!".

Supposedly, it offered one-click, easy installation and setup.

However, analysis of the code by Android Police showed the app to be a scam, which did nothing but change from a cross image to a tick after the single tap set-up'.

Nevertheless, the app had received numerous five-star reviews before being removed, although Android Police suggested the initial reviews may well have been fakes created in order to drum up business.

The developer, "Deviant Solutions", could potentially have made in excess of $40,000 from hapless Android users before the app was removed.

It is unlikely the developer will ever be traced. The email associated with Deviant Solutions has been involved in accusations of fraud before on Runescape website

This is not the first time the Google Play store has been rocked by controversy.

In March this year, a Turkish hacker admitted preventing developers from uploading new apps to the store.

The Android operating system is also often claimed to be more vulnerable than its iOS and Windows Phone counterparts when it comes to malware and viruses.

Google removed the app approximately one day after Android Police's report was published, but has not commented on the situation.

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Deputy Editor, primarily covering security, storage and networking for ITPro, CloudPro and ChannelPro.

Jane joined ITPro and CloudPro in July 2012, having previously written freelance for a number of business and finance magazines. She has also covered current affairs, including the student, public sector workers and TUC protests and strikes in central London while studying a Masters in Journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Prior to becoming a journalist, Jane studied Applied Languages at the University of Portsmouth.