Researchers have known for some time that malicious Android applications are often distributed via online stores other than Google's official Android Market service.
This development is an interesting twist in which the entire alternative store is a scam.
Any benefit of the doubt as to the stores' motives disappears when you realise that the sites are effectively charging money for free applications. The high possibility that these applications are Trojans themselves increases the threat.
The same programs are likely to be both free of Trojans and free of charge when obtained via the safer Android Market.
The malicious stores charge unwitting users/victims by requiring them to send text messages to premium rate numbers. When they have increased their balance to a certain amount they can download their chosen apps. These in turn may well send unauthorised text messages to premium rate numbers.
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