Dodgy Android markets shut down by FBI in copyright crackdown

Filed Under: Android, Featured, Law & order, Malware, Mobile

Three websites, involved in the distribution of cracked and stolen Android smartphone apps, have been shut down by the FBI.

The FBI, working with Dutch and French law enforcement officers, seized control of three website domain names –, and - and presented visitors to the sites with a message reminding them of how copyright lawbreakers could be severely punished:

Seized website

This domain name has been seized by the FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 981 and 2323.

Wilful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (Title 17, United States Code, Section 506, Title 18, United States Code, Section 2319).

FBI agents apparently downloading thousands of copies of popular apps from the websites, which would have earned the copyright holders income if sold through official channels.

FBI Piracy warningA press release from the Department of Justice, claimed that it was the first time that website domains associated with smartphone app markets had been seized.

Of course, it's worth bearing in mind that you may not only be breaking the law if you download copyrighted apps from unofficial app stores - you could also be putting your Android device at risk of malware infection.

Although it's true to say that malware has appeared in official Android app markets from time-to-time, most of the bad apps we see are placed on unofficial third-party sites.

If you think it's time to protect your Android smartphone or tablet against threats, check out Sophos's free Android anti-virus app.

It's available from the official Google Play store. :)

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2 Responses to Dodgy Android markets shut down by FBI in copyright crackdown

  1. Daniel Castellanos · 1146 days ago

    But the point is that Google has a greedy grip of the Android Market and people that have produts that have no bussines with them like Creative Ziio have no choice but to turn to other sources for their apps.

    • Nick · 1143 days ago

      That's not what this is about, plus its very very cheap to get apps on the play store.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley