According to Lookout Mobile Security the system is so efficient that almost a third of all mobile malware is made by just 10 organisations operating out of Russia. These “malware HQs” are pumping out nasty toll fraud apps, largely aimed at Android users, which force the user to call premium rate numbers the report said.
Thousands of affiliate marketers are also profiting from the scheme and helping spread the malware by setting up websites designed to trick users into downloading seemingly legitimate apps. Affiliates can make up to $12,000 a month and are heavy users of Twitter.
The report’s release at the DEF CON 21 conference in Las Vegas indicated that Lookout Mobile Security are working with the spooks to bring the crooks down. The malware HQs had gone to great lengths to obfuscate and encrypt their code to make detection tricky, but their advertising was pretty brazen.