Google’s app store Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market, is under attack from apparently sham app stores such as Gcogle Play and Android Express Play, antivirus software company Symantec has warned.
According to Symantec, the fake stores have managed to distribute malware to unsuspecting customers and steal information ranging between 75,000 and 450,000 units in the two weeks they have been operational.
Symantec terms the accomplishment of the fake stores as “wildly successful”, after they received 3,000 entries in the first week alone.
The security firm now warns that the threat of malware transmitted through the store is likely to increase exponentially.
“The scam has only been around for about two weeks so I am sure that this is just the beginning for the scammers and the amount of personal data collected will increase exponentially,” said Joji Hamada, a researcher based at Symantec who has been monitoring the store.
Symantec adds that another fake market, ‘Express play’, is already registered by the creators of the fake stores and could soon be launched.
Hamada says a close evaluation of the site suggests it is under construction or on standby, with Symantec having already established that a malware variant is already being hosted at the site.
The malware is said to be stealing about 150 pieces of information per device from one in ten visitors to the store.
According to Hamada, the only way to stop the vice is for the authorities to seize the criminals or for customers to be wary of the scams.