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 Sythe.org.

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
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.