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Pirated Android app uses shame as tool

April 1, 2011 |  2:13 pm

Walkntext First, pirated music and movies inspired lawsuits. Now, a smartphone app is teaching digital bootleggers a lesson with a high-tech version of a public shaming.

The Android.Walkinwat purports to be a free version of another "Walk and Text" app, which costs $1.54 in the Android market and uses a phone's built-in camera to give you a live feed as you text, at least in theory preventing you from walking into stop signs or into traffic.

The free app, available from unofficial Android app markets, works as a Trojan horse once installed and redirects the pirate to the legitimate app in the Android marketplace and secretly sends the following text message to everyone on the phone's contact list:

"Hey, just downlaoded [sic] a pirated app off the internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im stupid and cheap, it costed [sic] only 1 buck. Don't steal like I did!"

Then, this message pops up to the user: "We really hope you learned something from this. Check your phone bill ;) Oh and dont forget to buy the App from the Market."

Computer security company AVAST Software, based in the Czech Republic, concluded in a blog post that data from the pirated app was sent to a URL of Georgi Tanmazov, chief executive of Incorporate Apps, the developer of Android apps including the legitimate "Walk and Text" app. Rumors were running rampant that the app pilfered personal information including phone numbers and the device's unique identifier.

These rumors were soundly dismissed by Incorporate Apps.

"We are looking into ways of filing a lawsuit against AVAST from CZECH REPUBLIC, company which has a vast interest in spreading fear in favor of their products! We are denied contact to any officials from that company and our calls are being blocked or ignored," a letter on its website said.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: Photo of Walk and Text app at work. Credit: Incorporate Apps and Google Android Market.

 

 

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