Appthority – via its fully automated app risk management service – identified a risky new Android app called “Android.Farma,” which uses premium SMS subscription services to buy virtual goods. Here’s a translated description of the app:

“In the game you have to collect vegetables from the fields and develop the farm. Each box will appear different vegetables that will need to be set at five or more of the same in a row, column or diagonal. In addition to collecting vegetables from the fields, you can also expand your farm by building houses.”

What the description doesn’t tell you is that a virtual house on your farm will knock you back 11.07 PLN or around 3 US dollars. Buried in the app’s terms of service, it says that virtual goods are bought using SMS premium numbers. SMS short codes are used to “buy” the virtual goods. In most cases, the user is not alerted that they’re being charged to their account for the premium SMS message. This is especially worrisome for parents of children that could have downloaded the app and paid real money for virtual goods.

Organizations can avoid these types of risky apps from entering the workplace by working with Appthority. We provide the industry’s first fully automated App Risk Management service that employs static and dynamic analysis to discover the true behavior of apps and measure the total risk within minutes. Organizations that have deployed the Appthority service, either in conjunction with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution or directly through the Appthority Portal, have access to the largest database of analyzed public and private apps from a global network of sources. Appthority provides the app insights that companies need to take aggressive action against risky apps and malware to secure their networks.

Android.Farma
Appthority Trust Score: 0/100
Origin: Third party app store

Key findings:

– Buries language in its terms of service agreement on how it charges real money for virtual goods

– Can ring up charges using premium SMS messages to pay for virtual goods

– As a gaming app, parents may not be aware that their children are spending real money within the app