When you hear “crime ring”, “millionaire”, and “gambling” all in the same sentence, a number of movies come to mind. That kind of stuff usually doesn’t happen in real life. Except this time it did. A 50-year old gambler named Masaaki Kagawa, along with several others, were recently arrested for running an Android malware ring. According to Symantec, the ring was using spam, a faked dating website, and a well known Android malware called Android.Enesoluty.
According to Ars Technica, the well known anti-virus company Symantec was working with the Japanese Chiba Prefectural Police to bring down the bad guys. In total, 9 arrests were made which included Kagawa. Reports indicate that the scamming circle had already netted around $3.9 million at the time of the arrests.
What makes this story so sensational is that Masaaki Kagawa was already a successful person. He was the president of an IT firm called Koei Planning and was a successful gambler. Since 2008, he’s won $1.5 million in high stakes poker games and, according to Ars Technica, was actually under investigation while he was at his last tournament.
The reason why the scam ring was so successful was because it struck on so many levels. Not only did they go with your standard spamming, but they also used the Android.Enesoluty malware, which steals contact information. They used this contact information to send out invites to their fake dating service, called Sakura. According to reports from Symanetic, there were over 150 domains registered to carry the malware, which infected 810,000 Android devices and stole 37 million email addresses. Symantec investigated the matter from September 2012 through April 2013.
Thankfully, the bad guys are behind bars and this malware ring should be coming to an end. While this scare is pretty much over, Ars did point out that the Android.Enesoluty malware shared source code with Android.Uracto. Unfortunately, Android.Uracto and its maintainers remain at large. Of course, you can remain safe by only downloading apps from trusted sources like the Google Play Store or the Amazon App Store. If you do that, you should be able to avoid all of this. If there’s something you’d like to mention, feel free to leave us a comment.