Dec. 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM ET
Google has recently removed 22 fraudulent apps from Android Market that rack up hidden charges for unsuspecting users who downloaded seemingly innocent services, such as horoscopes, wallpapers and games.
Apparently, these forecasts and other apps have been ploys for criminals to lure consumers into clicking on options that led to premium charges tied to SMS usage.
Lookout Mobile Security posted about RuFraud on its website, which appeared in batches of horoscope, wallpaper and games apps that used pop culture appeal in conjuring Angry Birds and "Twilight."
According to Lookout, Google responded quickly to Lookout's alert to pull the piracy apps from the Android Market, but more reappeared over the weekend, masquerading as "free versions of popular games."
Google would not comment on the incident.
Lookout elaborated: "It appears that these apps may have reached a broader audience while published to the market: we estimate upwards of 14,000 downloads of these apps."
It affected mostly users in Europe.
The company has deployed an over-the-air update that protects those who have downloaded Lookout from all known instances of RuFraud.