Until a few hours ago, Virus Shield was the #1 paid app in the Google Play store. This story is so funny, you just have to read it for yourself. Warning! Take some Advil to keep your sides from hurting too much as you laugh. I'll be back after the break with a little commentary. Read the link and enjoy:

The #1 paid app in the Google Playstore "Virus Shield" is a complete scam

Virus Shield claims it is an antivirus that "protects you and your personal information from harmful viruses, malware, and spyware" and "Improve the speed of your phone," and it does this all with one click. It also claims to have a minimal impact on battery, run seamlessly in the background, and if that wasn't enough, it also acts as ad-block software that will stop those "pesky advertisements." This app costs $3.99, has been on the Play Store for just under two weeks and has already had 10,000 downloads with a 4.5 star review from 1,700 people. 2,607 people hit the Google "recommend" button. This means that the app must be doing something right... right?

Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red "X" graphic to a red "check" graphic. Literally. The 859kb app doesn't protect, secure, or scan anything. More work went into the Settings menu than the actual "security" portion of the app, and it appears that thousands of users have been scammed out of their money.

Where to begin... First, as hard as it is to get Android users to pay for apps, you would think it would be for a fun game. Nope. It is for antivirus. All you have to do is look at the list of things this app says it does to see what Android users are struggling with, and what their experience is really like. They routinely suffer from harmful spyware, viruses and malware that endangers the user and their personal information. Their phones are slow. Apps running in the background usually hit the battery quite hard. Oh, and they're inundated with pesky ads. At $4 a pop, this was the #1 paid app among Android users. That's a problem. If this was in the iOS app store, no one would buy it. iPhones simply do not suffer these issues. 

Second, it was a complete scam and people loved it. The app did absolutely nothing it claimed to do. Furthermore, it didn't even try to do what it claimed. It was a fraud through and through. That did not stop the app from achieving a 4.5 out of 5 star rating from customers. Over 2,600 people recommended it. They are so desperate for a solution to their Android phone problems that they will try anything, and like it. 

Finally, this is what OPEN gets you. Google has made it trivially easy for scammers to distribute dangerous and fraudulent apps too Android users. Google claims no responsibility for the consequences. They did remove this app when it was brought to their attention and started getting bad press. But they are not even the ones who discovered that it was fraudulent. To put it bluntly, Google just doesn't give a damn. 

Google supporters want you to believe that the app stores are the same because of the number of apps. However, the stores are nothing alike. Time and again, the really good apps don't make it to Android until long after they have become popular on iOS. Google Play is full of apps that simply would be rejected on iOS. It also contains app categories that are not necessary on iOS. Android might be an excellent choice if you want to rip off some intellectual property. Google allows that stuff as easily as they do scams and viruses. Wow! Just, wow!

David Johnson