$3.99 Android ‘antivirus’ app gained five-star reviews despite doing absolutely nothing

“The developer behind a ‘fake’ Android antivirus app that was downloaded thousands of times has told the Guardian it was a ‘foolish mistake’ and that users will be refunded,” Alex Hern reports for The Guardian. “Jesse Carter, whose Deviant Solutions uploaded the app on Sunday 28 March, insisted that ‘we never intended to scam our customers on Google Play’ with the non-functional app.”

“Called ‘Virus Shield,’ the app shot into the Google Play paid charts,” Hern reports. “It sold for $3.99 and was downloaded more than 30,000 times between being uploaded on Sunday 28 March and being taken down on Sunday 6 April, according to app store monitoring firm Appbrain.”

“Ostensibly, it searched the user’s phone for viruses, while also promising not to affect battery life. But in fact the app did precisely one thing: it changed its icon when pressed, to make it look like it was active,” Hern reports. “The app vanished from the store, but it’s unclear whether that was due to action by Google… or Carter, who told the Guardian that the decision was his. ‘One of our developers simply made a foolish mistake,’ Carter told the Guardian. ‘The app version… was not intended to be released. It was an early placeholder that our UI designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the antivirus code for our app.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Five stars.

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  1. More proof that 99% of fandroids are utterly clueless. They pay twenty bucks for a fart app that steals their contacts and uploads them to NSA’s perpbook website.

    1. How long are you pathetic losers going to whine and bawl about iOS 7? Until iOS 8 comes out? Or will you then switch to whining about that?

      Mac OS 9 never came back. It’s devotees eventually shut up and got on with their lives. It’s about time you guys did the same thing.


      1. Since when does complaining about something one doesn’t like qualify him as a “pathetic loser”. If it does, then I guess that makes all of those who whined and bawled about skeuomorphism pathetic losers also, right? The same people who, by the way, never seemed to have a big problem with it until the day they found out that Saint Jony hated it.

        1. People who whine and whine and whine and whine and whine about something that isn’t going to change are pathetic losers. The rest of the Apple users have moved on — these sad people can’t let go. They are no different from those folks who bawled their eyes out when OS X was introduced, thinking that if they just bitched and moaned loud enough, Apple would go back to OS 9.

          The iOS 6 look is not coming back. These people need to get over it.


    1. Comments like yours are the clueless ones. Look at the bigger picture not laugh at one small incidence.

      Some Iphone fans are still living behind closed doors throwing out stupid comments like yours or ones that have not been true for years, Andriod has caught up and surpassed IOS as have Andriod phones themselves. Android is no slower than IOS despite the fact it can do lots more, apps are much less likely to crash, battery life is significantly better, it is actually simpler and more efficient if you take just a little time to set it up for the way you use it…. I could go on.

      Please do not throw yet another one liner at me I am not a troll, but a concerned Apple user who has seen the iphone and IOS lose a big lead and fall behind. Facing the truth and questioning Apple will lead to a stronger product line in the future. Apple is still a great and strong company and had some great products, but history shows even the mighty can fall and at the moment they are going down not up.

      1. Apple is still a great and strong company and had some great products, but history shows even the mighty can fall and at the moment they are going down not up.

        Clueless Colin. Wake me when Apple has slid lower than they were in 1997.

        1. Another one liner with no relevance, thank you for reinforcing my point. The past means little, it is the future that matters. If u think I am wrong why not give a reason. I think it must be you that are clueless!

          1. you want reason? there are many reasons why Android is not winning on the web… it is you people chose only one metric that is number of devices sold/shipped. rest every meaningful metric says Apple/iOS is winning… profits,web usage,appstore profit, ios hardware resale value, interest on iPhone6, unbelievable dev support even with so many restrictions, malware/virus and I can go on and on… open up your mind… Google/Samsung are good in engineering but not in ethics or innovation… examples… motorola deal, gear watch, fight with LG, etc and on and on….

            heck just see the samsung internal docs…how they copied iPhone/UI pixel by pixel… you need more proof? then you will never understand in life… good luck

          2. How could you be witness to Apple losing a big lead?

            Think! Apple’s products thrive in a vertical market and are unaffected by the market forces of the Android platform.

            Android could very well be taking the lead in sales, but those sales aren’t coming at the expense of Apple.

            This is where so many turn against you.

            “…at the moment they are going down not up.

            In the moment! Colin. But over the course of 38-years they are up by a hefty margin and I see great things in their future.

      2. Andriod has caught up and surpassed IOS as have Andriod phones themselves.
        LOL! That’s a good one! That was Colin, ladies and gentlemen! He’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your waitress!


      3. If your android is “too cool and above” why bother coming into sites the talk about the lower performing iDevices. Fandroids(aka iHaters(haters of Apple) ) are such clueless bunch of tech owners.

      4. “Comments like yours” show a lack of reading comprehension skills. MY comment was about “Android users,” not about Android. Your reaction clearly shows that you are NOT a “concerned Apple user.” You ARE likely to be an “insecure” Android user, trying to buy some false security by spending money on a security app that does nothing. No doubt, you also gave it a FIVE STAR rating. 😉

      5. you do (or should) realize that Android is another Windows. Exactly. Except, in the Windows world, when Windows switched to another version, everything from the shittiest hardware to top-of-the-line hardware came with the current version.

        In Android land, not only can they not promise you you’ll get the current OS when you buy it, they can’t promise it’ll be upgradable to the current OS.

        The quad-core CPUs running at 2.6GHz can barely handle a dual core A7 running at 1.3GHz. Even the Android hardware is generic and shitty.

        Oh, but enjoy running antivirus. You’ll need it for the ever-growing threat of both malware and fake antivirus programs that do nothing.

    1. I guess if you purchase an Android app and it doesn’t do any harm to your phone or data, you are so relieved that you give it five stars right away!

    1. Yeah, that’s what I think too. I mean, if what they say is true, they’re screwed, because no one is going to buy the real app now. But the fact that the app stayed there until someone pointed out what it really was, plus all the positive reviews of the app (likely by paid astroturfers or their own staff) make it almost certain that they’re lying and this is a scam.


      1. Like Petey says.

        He brought in 120,000 dollars in a ten day period and no doubt the team had an epiphany about how desperate Android users are for protection against those who would cheat them in any way possible.

  2. Android: The Sucker’s OS.

    To be fair, Virus Shield did accurately read your battery level.


    What’s the solution? We’re sorry to say that we don’t have one. Any effective way of deterring outright fraudsters like this would go way beyond the basic filtering that Google is doing at the moment, and it would also make the Play Store less “open,” if only marginally so. That being said, it’s also clear that something needs to be done. Perhaps a more hands-on approach to monitoring apps that rise as rapidly as Virus Shield (which we’re almost certain did so with less than genuine downloads and reviews) is called for.

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