London: A bug that stoles cash by racking up charges from sending premium rate text messages has been found in Android Apps store.
Security researchers identified 32 separate apps on Google Play that harboured the bug called BadNews.
A security firm Lookout, which uncovered BadNews, said that themalicious program lay dormant on many handsets for weeks to escape detection.
The malware targeted Android owners in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries in eastern Europe, the BBC reports.
In a blogpost, Lookout said that a wide variety of apps were harbouring the BadNews malware.
It found the programme lurking inside recipe generators, wallpaper apps, games and pornographic programmes.
The 32 apps were available through four separate developer accounts on Play, the report said.
Google has now suspended those accounts and removed all the affected apps from its online store, it added.
Half of the 32 apps seeded with BadNews are Russian and the version of AlphaSMS it installed is tuned to use premium rate numbers in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan.