Producer of virus-riddled app reaches terms with federal, NJ regulators
The manufacturers of the Prized mobile app that allegedly infested Android phones and tablets with mining software have agreed to refrain from selling or marketing products with potentially-damaging malware, in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New Jersey.
Equiliv Investments and Ryan Ramminger, based in Ohio, are also prohibited from misleading consumers in advertising or selling software, according to information from the office of acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
They are required to submit records demonstrating compliance for the next 20 years and reimburse New Jersey $5,200 for investigative and legal costs. State officials agreed to suspend an addtional $44,800 if they comply consistently for the next three years.
The FTC and state investigators alleged that the app, offered through Equiliv's site and third parties including Google Play and Amazon, contained software that forced mining for virtual currencies such as Litecoin, Dogecoin and Quarkcoin.
The mining process sapped the energy out of the devices, costing owners more in data usage, keeping the devices charged, and either replacing them or having the malware removed, regulators said.
"Consumers downloaded this app thinking that at the very worst it would not be as useful or entertaining as advertised," Hoffman said in a prepared statement. "Instead, the app allegedly turned out to be a Trojan horse for intrusive, invasive malware that was potentially damaging to expensive smartphones and other mobile devices."
Prized is no longer available to download.