• If you have these apps, delete them immediately

    'All of this illicit activity takes place without the victim’s knowledge'

    Malware that secretly charges users for fake services has been downloaded by millions of people, a new report says.

    “ExpensiveWall”, software designed to cheat users out of their money without them realising, was hidden in at least 50 apps in the Google Play store. A list of apps can be found further down this page.

    According to the Check Point researchers who discovered it, ExpensiveWall has been downloaded between one million and 4.2 million times.

    “The malware registers victims to premium services without their knowledge and sends fraudulent premium SMS messages, charging their accounts for fake services,” the researchers said.

    “In some cases, the SMS activity takes place without giving the user any notice. In other cases, the malware presents the user with a button called ‘Continue’, and once the user clicks the button, the malware sends a premium SMS on [their] behalf.”

    A number of people who installed ExpensiveWall-infected apps tried to warn other users off downloading them by leaving negative reviews on Google Play. Some of these read:

    “Virus detected”
    “It is NOTHING like the ad on Instagram tey [sic] lie to you DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT”
    “The comments indicate that the app is promoted on several social networks including Instagram, which might explain how it came to be downloaded so many times,” said Check Point.

    The ExpensiveWall apps were reported to Google on 7 August and removed from the Play store.

    However, Check Point says more infected apps were made available to download on Google Play “within days”. These were taken down four days later.

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  • Scientists’ electrifying plans for a food revolution could spell an end to world hunger

    Scientists in Finland are perfecting a food-making process which could one day enable people to electrically shock carbon dioxide and microbes into a square meal.

    Teams at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland discovered that by subjecting water, microbes like bacteria, and carbon dioxide to sustained electrical currents they can produce ‘food’ with nutritional value.


    The technique involves bioreactors about the size of a coffee cup, and results in a mixture that is about 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates, as well as containing nucleic acids and fats.

    While being touted as a solution to the world’s hunger problems, the production is in its nascent stages – it currently takes two weeks to create 1g of protein. Food security is a major issue around the world and the UN estimate that 2 billion people will lack basic nourishment by 2050.

    The experiment is part of LUT and VTT’s Neo-Carbon Energy research into emission-free power systems. According to Juha-Pekka Pitkanen, a lead scientist at VTT, the method could provide one solution to food shortage, allowing people to effectively jump-start their diet at home.

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