An alleged hacker in France was arrested by police Thursday for spreading malicious apps containing viruses to smartphone users, according to the BBC.
French prosecutors told the broadcaster that the 20-year-old man, who was not named, stole small amounts of money from around 17,000 people via the fake apps and was able to acquire a grand sum of 500,000 euros ($655,400).
The man admitted his crimes to police after he was arrested in the northern French city of Amiens. He worked from his parents’ home.
In the scheme, he created malicious software that looked like normal smartphone apps, but these programs stole money through hidden transactions.
He also used programs that sent him the usernames and passwords for gambling and gaming websites.
He told officials that he was motivated by a strong interest in computers and the desire to be a software developer.
The BBC reported that smartphones using Google’s Android operating system were the most susceptible to the virus-laden apps.
Earlier this year, fake Android apps that appeared as the popular “Angry Birds” and “Cut the Rope” games defrauded nearly 1,400 customers out of $45,000, according to the Daily Telegraph.
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