Poker-Playing IT Exec Busted in Japan for Android-Malware Scam
The president of a Japanese IT firm in Tokyo has been arrested for distributing Android malware that helped net nearly $4 million, according to Symantec.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
I just got a message from antivirus-software and security company Symantec saying that a well-known poker player named Masaaki Kagawa has been arrested by Japanese authorities for allegedly distributing Android malware.
Masaaki Kagawa, the 50-year-old president of Koei Planning, an IT firm located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and an avid poker player, is just one of nine men arrested “for distributing spam that included emails with links to [Android] malware used to collect contact details stored on the owner’s device,” Symantec says.
“Mr. Kagawa’s operation began around September, 2012 and ceased in April, 2013 when authorities in Tokyo raided the company office. Symantec confirmed around 150 domains were registered to host malicious Android apps during this span. The group was able to collect approximately 37 million email addresses from around 810,000 Android devices. As a result, the company earned approximately $3.9 million US dollars by running a fake online dating service called Sakura site. Spam used to lure victims to the dating site was sent to the addresses collected by the malware.”
Android malware honestly hasn’t proven to be a significant threat to most average users, especially if said users are wise enough to steer clear of suspicious adult websites while browsing on their Androids. But a number of relatively high-profile arrests related to Android malware have come to light during the past year or so. For example, last June, Tokyo police reportedly arrested six men, including a number of one-time IT executives, in connection with an Android malware campaign that netted roughly $265,000 or 21 million yen.
It could be a coincidence that both of these incidents occurred in Japan—or it could be an indicator that Japan is increasingly becoming a hotbed for Android malware.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.