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Completely useless Android antivirus app nets 30,000 downloads before being pulled

manbitesdog

Consider this a lesson in taking app claims (and user reviews!) at face value. Uploaded on March 28th, Virus Shield was the third most popular paid app, and the most popular overall, on the Google Play Store. Retailing for $3.99, the app promised to search a user’s Android smartphone for viruses without affecting battery life. In a little over a week, it had been downloaded more than 30,000 times and had received multiple 5-star reviews.

Unfortunately, the app didn’t do anything. Well, when pressed, the app’s icon changed, but as Android Police concluded when it examined the app, there was no additional code within to do anything else.

Here’s what Jesse Carter of Deviant Solutions, the app’s “developer”, had to say about the mess:

“One of our developers simply made a foolish mistake. The app version that was decompiled by AndroidPolice was not intended to be released. It was an early placeholder that our ui designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the antivirus code for our app.

“After reading the article created by Android Police, we immediately unpublished our app from the marketplace to upload the intended version. However, our Google Play Developer account was suspended before we could make said amendments. We have not withdrawn any earnings received from Virus Shield and intend to refund all purchases. We may possibly upload the intended version of the app for free to everyone.”

It’s very likely that Deviant Solutions is sincere about the mistake, and here’s hoping that the finished version of Virus Shield does all that it claims. But the incident certainly reinforces the notion of ‘buyer beware’ when it comes to paid mobile apps.

  • Max Fireman

    Wow. Highway robbery. Refund everyone involved and teach them that viruses on Androids are next to non existent.

    • Martin Chan

      I’m guessing that the dev took the money and ran. And I doubt highly that Google will do refunds, there are quite a few other apps out there than are scams.
      As for the Android virus thing, I’ve ran into a few. It’s not common but it’s out there. Better to teach and inform people to prevent scams in the first place.

    • DaFuqIsWrongWitChu

      did either of you even read the actual article? Like this is how misinformation spreads, READ ENGLISH. They said they are going to not only refund the purchase but release the proper version as free for everyone.

    • SV650

      “We **may possibly** upload the intended version of the app for free to everyone.”

      Possibly a dose of your own advice is warranted?

  • Sequoia46.2

    Android had built in virus detection on installation of an app, and will soon be improving to check periodically. Antivirus apps are not necessary. Waste of space on your Android device.

    • Sweet

      My understanding is that Google’s Play store also scans apps when they are uploaded.

    • Phi Nguyen

      Not only Google play but any android running 4.1 and higher vets all apps running on the device against Google play services so even if you install non Google play apps via 3rd party sites or vendors like snap they will scan them

    • Sweet

      I didn’t know that. That’s really good.

  • Turbo E

    How did they explain the fake reviews?

    • Guest

      Did you even read the story? The reviews aren’t fake. The part of the app that was released was not the part that was meant to be released. It was just a place holder and was released because of a mix up. *rolling my eyes at your lack of comprehension*

    • Turbo E

      I forgot. MS is the only source of news online. There is more to the story. There are companies that devs can pay to generate fake reviews to boost your app to the best seller list.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      I don,’t believe they were fake reviews. People installed the app and saw the icon changed and thought the app was working and consequetly got no battery drainage that was noticeable so the claims of the app seemed at that time to be true to them.

  • mizkitty

    “It’s very likely that Deviant Solutions is sincere about the mistake”

    They why didn’t they fix it right away?
    This story has been in the news for over a week.

    The company also updated the app (from version 1.0 all the way through 2.2) without noticing it was a placeholder?

    Not likely…

    • Bri Bru

      I agree. If they manage to issue refund to everyone and upload the correct one that has battery drainage nearly close to none, I’d believe them but for now, this company is full of s***.

    • hoo dat

      It is entirely possible that 1.0 actually worked but the final version, 2.2, was the place holder. Not making excuses for the dev but that seems to be more logical to me.

  • Michael

    Hilarious!!!

  • Brandon Noel

    Lols

  • Ren596

    LOL

  • Tyrone_83

    Do these so called antivirus apps “really” work on the play store or are people foolish enough to download them?

    • realitycheck

      so tell me how are people foolish by downloading this app unknowingly? When one downloads an app from the google play store they trust google that the apps they are downloading are clean and prescreened.

    • Tyrone_83

      Spite the fact the screening process. Who really needs antivirus on their phone?

    • realitycheck

      what about the fake bbm apps which caused BB to delay their release? screening at work right?

    • Tyrone_83

      People should have common sense if it doesn’t come the company itself are you shouldn’t be downloading it in the first place. Would you download Chrome Cast HD from a third party with a company name you dont know or heard of? And they happen to fool not one or two but 30k of people.

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