The UK's premium rate telephone regulator is promising to protect smartphone users from rogue apps running up huge bills, by making sure they do not pay for malware-initiated calls.
Under new guidelines published by PhonepayPlus, an agency of Ofcom, premium rate phoneline operators will not be able to charge users that have installed apps that make these calls without the owner's knowledge.
Malware may falsify a consumer's consent to charge, making that consent invalid, the guidelines state.
“The guidance is a collaborative effort to ensure that consumers get the very best out of the app market, and that providers can operate and innovate within clear guidelines,” said Paul Whiteing, PhonepayPlus chief executive.
The problem of rogue apps has been highlighted recently by a number of security firms.
A report by Juniper Networks suggested that SMS Trojans – which run in the background on infected smartphones and clandestinely send SMS messages to premium rate numbers – accounted for more than a third of mobile malware in 2011.
PhonePay Plus said it took action against a number of apps that made premium rate calls without the handset owner's consent and wanted to protect others in future.
It launched a 10-week consultation process at the start of the year in order to develop the guidelines it has unveiled.
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