Over ten million users have been duped in installing a fake Samsung app named "Updates for Samsung" that promises firmware updates, but, in reality, redirects users to an ad-filled website and charges for firmware downloads.
"I have contacted the Google Play Store and asked them to consider removing this app," Aleksejs Kuprins, malware analyst at the CSIS Security Group, told ZDNet today in an interview, after publishing a report on the app's shady behavior earlier today.
The app takes advantage of the difficulty in getting firmware and operating system updates for Samsung phones, hence the high number of users who have installed it.
"It would be wrong to judge people for mistakenly going to the official application store for the firmware updates after buying a new Android device," the security researcher said. "Vendors frequently bundle their Android OS builds with an intimidating number of software, and it can easily get confusing."
All in all, the app is not malware in the traditional meaning of the word, as it does not perform any malicious actions on the user's behalf, or without his consent. The better words for its mode of operation are "scam," "fraudulent," or "adware."
"I haven't found the app to perform anything malicious on the device," Kuprins confirmed to ZDNet when we asked about additional shady behavior. "However, when the app is open - it does display a lot of full-screen advertisements, almost after every other tap on the screen."