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App hit #1, Google never suspected a 869 KB "antivirus" app by the maker of "Yolo Bilbo Swaggins" might be fake

Ouch; Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android suffered another image setback in the app credibility department this week, after one of its top apps was removed following a damning report by Michael Crider over at Android Police.

I. Virus Shield: "Very Low Impact on Battery Life" (Because it Does NOTHING)

Released at the end of March, "Virus Shield" promised to deal with one of Android users' greatest concerns -- security.  It was approved by Google for sale on the Play app store.  Perhaps it was the slick logo, or perhaps it was the bold promises...
  • Prevents harmful apps from being installed on your device.
  • Scans apps, settings, files, and media in real time
  • Protects your personal information
  • Strong antivirus signature detection
  • Very low impact on battery life
  • Runs in the background
  • No, ZERO pesky advertisments
Virus Shield

...that left users were smitten with the new app, downloading it by the droves.  Despite the cost, it quickly logged 10,000+ downloads in its first week, good enough for #1 on AppBrain's paid app charts.

Virus Shield

Users were overjoyed at the simplicity of Virus Shield, giving it -- on average -- a 4.6 star rating .  You just fired up the app and clicked the shield and an X icon changed to a check.  And voilà, you were protected... right?

Virus Shield

Well, not exactly.  Android Police's writer downloaded the app and decompiled it, which is pretty easy to do in Android with standard developer tools.  What he found was that the app did have some of the features promised -- but basically just the ones that had nothing to do with security.

It's true it had no ads, and it likely used next to no battery life.

The issue was that it used next to no battery life because it was quite-literally doing nothing.  The app appeared to have no real security features whatsoever, just feel-good 100-percent digital snakeoil.

II. Conned by a Kid?

Mr. Crider did not take this fabrication lightly.  He wrote regarding the app's developer "Deviant Solutions":

This is fraud, pure and simple, and the developer "Deviant Solutions" potentially made considerable amounts of money based on a complete lie. We assume that a lot of the initial reviews were fake, but now that it's on the top of the charts, at least a few people will be buying it in the belief that it will protect them.

A post on Scythe -- an online gaming store suggests that a user with the same email as the Virus Shield developer ("Jesse_Carter@live.com") was trying to scam users out of virtual goods back in 2011 under the name InceptionDeception.

Mr. Crider writes:

There is no developer website listed on the Play Store, but a quick search of the developer's email, "Jesse_Carter@live.com," reveals very little information. What you can see is a banned account at Sythe.org, where the user "InceptionDeviant" is accused of trying to scam people out of various low-value game items. That's about all we could find.

We believe we've found a bit more.  

A search with the original email turns up an account on Powerbot (a Runescape hacking site) from a male claiming to be 22.  But further investigation indicates the master scammer was really just a 17-year old kid currently living somewhere in the Fort Worth area (these facts can be gleaned via his responses in the comments, as seen below).

Jesse Bristol

Here's his YouTube account that he used to post Runescape hacking videos to.  In fact it appears that Jesse Carter was actually one of the most famous scammer/spammer in the Runescape (RS) scene, going by the name "Deviant".  He's perhaps most famous for his "WoodCutter" script, which many players used to cheat their way to cash.

Jesse Carter
Jesse Carter, from a video posted on YouTube

Now at the ripe age of 17 it appears that he's upgraded to fraud on Android, quite possibly making nearly $50K USD in the process (if AppBrain's estimates of 10k+ downloads are accurate).  Unless, that is if another hacker stole his identity and the scammer has become the scammed -- also a real possibility.

III. Blame Goes to the Faker, to Google, and to Clueless Users Alike

Whoever the faker is the, the fact that over $50,000 USD were lost to a fraud artist is a pretty big concern for Android and raises some natural questions.

First, Android users are clearly aware of security risks, so why did they foolishly pay hard-earned cash for a supposed security firm that has virtually no web presence.  The answer, in some cases may be that they confused Deviant Solutions (with an 's') with The Deviant Solution Group (DSG).  The two appear to be entirely unrelated.

One key difference between the two is that the The DSG and Deviant Solutions is that the former is solely a third-party development hired hand.  While its portfolio includes impressive products such as Pocket Attorney, it registers these products under its clients' name on the Play Store.  By contrast Deviant Solutions developed under its own name.  Another key different that's now clear is that while The DSG provided apps that actually do something useful, where as Deviant Solutions specialized in apps that had no meaningful actions.

Android app collection
Lack of screening and scrutiny is putting Google's reputation at risk.
[Image Source: Google Reader]

Regardless, even if people stumbled across the Deviant Solution Group and mistook it for Deviant Solutions, you'd still think they'd be a bit wary of ponying up $4 USD for a security service with no dedicated website.

The report also raises question on Google's end.  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has drawn criticism at times for watching the iTunes App Store like a hawk and policing top ranked apps for signs of controversy and fraud.  At times it goes too far, certainly, but it does do a pretty good job making sure its users are stricken with such obvious fraud attempts.

While Google's pre-screening has gotten much better and relatively little malware slips through into Play Store, Google is perhaps too laissez-faire about not weeding out fakes from the ranks of its top apps.

If nothing else, the 859 KB size of the app package (talk about a lean antivirus program!), the fact that it asked for no network provisions, and its wild claims should have raised an eyebrow or two at Google.  Or perhaps Mr. Carter's previous apps...
  • Yolo Bilbo Swaggins
  • Secret SEO
...should have raised an eyebrow or two.  Instead Google appeared oblivious until Mr. Crider's excellent expose, at which point the ban hammer finally dropped.

Uber SEO

"Uber SEO", aka "Yolo Bilbo Swaggins" measures in at around 700 KB, so if we had to wager a guess, it's probably safe to say that it's not doing a lot of SEO for you.  Then again trusting an app called Yolo Swaggins to improve your web traffic would be kind of like trusting a security app with no public website... oh wait.

Sources: Android Police, Virus Shield on Google Play [cached]



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Once again, BB security is king
By iamkyle on 4/8/2014 1:46:50 PM , Rating: 1
Once again, BB proves that all this hoopla about antivirus is not needed on a platform BUILT for security.

Downvote away, haters!




RE: Once again, BB security is king
By Rukkian on 4/8/2014 3:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe just that since only like 1% of new smart phones are BB, that nobody would waste time trying to write a virus for it.


RE: Once again, BB security is king
By Mitch101 on 4/8/2014 5:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
I used to be a blackberry admin/engineer and when the term blackberry comes up in conversation today there is a good chance were talking about the fruit.


By Mitch101 on 4/8/2014 5:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hes Right

5 Steps To Prevent A Cold Or Flu: What To Eat, What To Avoid
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/04/prevent-a-...
Antioxidants are the key to healthy cells and a healthy immune system. Whole food antioxidants contained in superfoods -- such as pomegranates, goji berries, blueberries, blackberries , acai berries and cranberries -- help to fight the free radicals that are toxic to our systems.


RE: Once again, BB security is king
By Samus on 4/8/2014 6:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
well when you have no apps or features, it's pretty easy to run a secure platform.


RE: Once again, BB security is king
By xti on 4/9/2014 1:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
or users!


By EricMartello on 4/10/2014 11:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Once again, BB proves that all this hoopla about antivirus is not needed on a platform BUILT for security.

Downvote away, haters!


My fax machine has yet to be infested by a virus and paper doesn't run out of batteries.

Downvote away, suckas!


i agree
By cokbun on 4/8/2014 12:34:49 AM , Rating: 5
google playstore / market is filled with crap software, theres 1 good fart app & there are 999 crappy copies of it.




RE: i agree
By inighthawki on 4/8/2014 1:08:03 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
theres 1 good fart app & there are 999 crappy copies of it.

I feel like you're overestimating the number of quality fart apps.


869kb
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/8/2014 9:10:18 AM , Rating: 2
There are flashlight apps that are bigger than that. He should have made it 6-9MB then it would have been less obvious.




How did Android get so bad?
By andrerichards on 4/8/14, Rating: -1
RE: How did Android get so bad?
By tonyswash on 4/8/2014 5:02:07 AM , Rating: 5
With any product one has to always ask ‘What was the job it was hired to do’. That question can be asked of it’s makers (in Android’s case Google), those who utilise it in a product development stack (in Android’s case the handset OEMs and carriers) and of course of the customers who buy products that contain Android variants.

What did Google make Android to do? It’s clear, because Google were open about it, that Android was originally developed to stop Microsoft’s Windows Mobile from taking over the mobile device market. Google feared that because of Microsoft’s long history of using dominant market share to leverage domination in other software and services sectors that once Microsoft controlled mobile it could exclude and thus screw Google’s advertising business. Thats’ a perfectly reasonable worry on Google’s part and Android was a sensible and imaginative response. Fairly late in Android’s initial development phase Apple’s iPhone came out and Google were smart enough to know that it had instantly signed the death warrant of Win Mobile and all other existing mobile OS and that Android had to now stop Apple from dominating the mobile space. I think that the transfer of fear by Google from Microsoft to Apple was less reasonable (because it’s not clear that even if Apple had achieved a dominant monopoly in mobile it would have had any interest in excluding a non-competing Android-less Google) but on balance it was probably prudent on Google’s part. Why take the risk of handing Apple a kill switch on Google’s business?

Android has now done the job, certainly in the smartphone market, that Google made it for. Apple will never have a dominant market monopoly in handsets. So from a core strategy point of view Android has done the job that Google created it to do. Almost all Google’s efforts in relation Android now focus on maximising the prevalence of Google services in the huge Android diaspora. Google’s doesn’t care, or at least care much, about the quality of life in the Android diaspora, it mostly just cares about the spread and usage of it’s services. That was the job that Google hired Android to do.

This is also a very interesting take on understanding Google - it made me think differently about the company.

http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2014/2/19/ways-...


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By retrospooty on 4/8/2014 8:01:25 AM , Rating: 2
"Android has now done the job, certainly in the smartphone market, that Google made it for. Apple will never have a dominant market monopoly in handsets. So from a core strategy point of view Android has done the job that Google created it to do."

Well, you were basically right up to and including that point, but your assertion that its over and it wont keep improving is pretty vapid. Regardless, its still the best mobile OS by a mile and will remain on top until something comes along that is better and knocks it off the top of hte pile. I actually look forward to that day as it means something better for us all, but sadly, there seems to be no close second place.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By tonyswash on 4/8/14, Rating: -1
RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Rukkian on 4/8/2014 11:12:29 AM , Rating: 5
Tony - I am kind of wondering if somebody hacked your account, as you admitted that IOS has flaws and Android has strengths.
If not, then maybe there is hope for you to have an open mind at some point.



RE: How did Android get so bad?
By retrospooty on 4/8/2014 3:11:45 PM , Rating: 3
It's hard to keep touting Apple as they fall farther and farther behind the technology curve every year. He has to at least seem remotely realistic.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Rukkian on 4/8/2014 3:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
But this is Tony, I did not think he had it in him, which is why I am thinking somebody hijacked his account.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Mitch101 on 4/8/2014 5:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Whats the term even a broken clock is right twice a day?


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Nutzo on 4/9/2014 1:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
That only applies to the old, outdated analog clocks. A broken digital clock is usually wrong all the time.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By chripuck on 4/9/2014 8:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
Sigh... I've had Android and I've had iOS. What in the world does Android give me that a jailbroken iOS doesn't that I really want (other than a larger screen.) NFC? Yawn... anything else?

Tony actually took the high road here and here you come, the anti-Tony bull rushing your "Android is just SO much better" idiotic stance.

They're different, if you like one, good for you, but they're so damn similar it's insulting to imply one is significantly better than the other.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/2014 9:35:31 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
What in the world does Android give me that a jailbroken iOS doesn't that I really want


So much it's impossible to list it all.

Anyway just curious why you would compare stock Android to a jailbroken iPhone?


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/8/2014 4:18:40 PM , Rating: 1
Its funny that you still believe this when Android, even after all these band-aid fixes, is as bad as its ever been.

I notice you avoided the recent Windows Phone thread where many current and ex-Android users lamented the state of post-4.x Android and how it still hasn't caught up.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=34644...

The entire thread is filled with complaints like this. Your Fandroid buddies reclaimer and cheesewiz were left twisting in the wind. Why'd you leave them out to hang like that?


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By retrospooty on 4/8/2014 4:27:03 PM , Rating: 3
You need to pick up a modern android or just stop posting ignorant non-sense. Everything you say is true... 2-3 years ago. For what its worth, I wouldnt recomend anyone buy an Android that is 203 years old.

Today? Very different.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/8/14, Rating: -1
RE: How did Android get so bad?
By retrospooty on 4/8/2014 11:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
"We are talking about 4.x here"

But you are wrong. What Reclainer said. "You've failed here. Just shut up"

Seriously man, you are like arguing with a 12 year old know it all that knows jack shit. Your points are beyond ridiculous and vapid. a couple people complaining on a forum does not equal science.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/14/2014 6:05:52 AM , Rating: 2
No, I linked to articles reinforcing that those have not been fixed. Any mobile developer will say the same thing, before diving into why Eclipse is such garbage compared to Xcode. You just choose t bury your head in the sand and say "But you are wrong" no matter what reality is.

You like the freedom in hardware configurations, and that's cool, even when your own G2 is "limited" compared to something like an S4 in options and features. Your refusal to accept Android's rough edges at all costs is standard console fanboy defense, except it's coming from a middle aged man instead of a 14 year old.


By retrospooty on 4/8/2014 11:17:57 PM , Rating: 3
Here... Your type of data.

https://www.google.com/search?q=iphone+complaints&...

100 million hits when searching for iPhone complaints. Wow, it must be a runaway disaster right?

Of course not, I just post that sarcastically to show how stupid you sound when you like 5x today post to some clowns on a forum complaining as evidence.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/8/2014 4:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your Fandroid buddies reclaimer and cheesewiz were left twisting in the wind. Why'd you leave them out to hang like that?
Only in your deluded head.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/8/2014 6:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you know? 5 people posting on Daily Tech is greater than the millions and millions of people perfectly happy with Android.

Dude Android is doomed.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/8/2014 6:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
So doomed, that 80+ percent market share? GONE! Lol


By KoolAidMan1 on 4/8/2014 10:00:03 PM , Rating: 1
Low end market is huge, man. People in China and India gotta buy phones too.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By FITCamaro on 4/8/2014 7:19:49 AM , Rating: 4
With any open platform this kind of thing can happen. It's like complaining to Microsoft that there is crappy software on Windows.

Android has been steadily improved with features ads on each release. Much of the crap on it comes from phone makers putting their bloatware on top of it.


RE: How did Android get so bad?
By Rukkian on 4/8/2014 11:10:47 AM , Rating: 4
To add to that, I don't really think it is google's job to make sure software does what it claims, as long as it does not have malware. They don't go into games and make sure they are fun, or go into netflix and make sure it has as much content as they claim.

This is simply a case of buyer beware, and don't just jump on the bandwagon of any app, or any purchase that happens to be popular at that moment.

I actually don't want Google censoring what is there, other than for security/malware issues. This whole thing will be blown up by some media outlets (and any apple site) as showing that android is horrible, but it is actually one of the reasons I like Android, they are not censoring what I can and cannot download.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/8/2014 11:35:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I mean, it's literally become a joke


Can you even begin to quantify this or back it up?

Sounds like you're talking out of your ass.


By EricMartello on 4/10/2014 12:06:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Android started off with such promise but lately, it's become nothing but a fragmented, buggy sh**show. I'm not really seeing the benefit of it over iOS or Windows Phone nowadays. I mean, it's literally become a joke, and Google appears to have little interest in improving it in any substantial way. It's like they hit #1 with the market share and then got lazy and are letting it languish. Very disappointing.


What happened is that android was what manufacturers of competing handsets had available and so it was installed on most new phones. There just isn't much OS choice in the mobile market since every device is proprietary and there are no hardware standards like you have with the PC.

Windows Phone is the best mobile OS currently available by a long shot - it's just a shame that the newest phones like the Galaxy S5 do not support it, likely because it's not free and cuts into already thin hardware profits.


Typical dumb Android users
By JackBurton on 4/8/14, Rating: -1
RE: Typical dumb Android users
By jackpro on 4/8/2014 1:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
which one is the good fart app?


RE: Typical dumb Android users
By cokbun on 4/8/2014 2:15:00 AM , Rating: 3
MOTION FART

Fart on command just by lifting your leg!

Really! You can with Motion Fart!

Motion Fart allows you to fart on command! Just put your phone in your pocket and Motion Fart will do it's job.

Try different funny movements to prank your friends with these farts! This is a free app.

The Motion Fart app uses your phones motion sensor and has lots of different farts like: Squeeky fart, wet fart and loud fart sounds!

You can also use this app like a soundboard. There is a big fart button. Press on it and the sound effects will start playing.
You are like a fart machine! A fart droid! This is the ultimate prank.

''Motion Fart brings a whole new element to farting applications''
by - DroidApps.com

User reviews

NEIL LAMBERT WROTE:
Motion fart the best fart app to date not just squeaky mouse farts but I need to change my underpants ones. Luv this app im gonna have fun with this on the bus etc lol:)

SHAWN JENSEN WROTE:
Funny it works best when you have you phone in your back pocket. Front pocket makes it fart with every step

RICKADO AGUSTA WROTE:
Fart fart fart I love fart


ahahahah
By Jim_Liquor on 4/8/14, Rating: -1
RE: ahahahah
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/8/2014 12:50:22 PM , Rating: 1
Mine works....so your opinion is, well, invalid.


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