Google has removed nearly two dozen malware-infected apps from its official Android Market in the last several days, a security company said Sunday.

So far this year, Google has yanked more than 100 malicious Android apps from its download distribution channel.

San Francisco-based Lookout Security said that it and other vendors had notified Google of several recent waves of malicious apps -- 22 apps altogether -- that reached the Android Market. Google has yanked those programs from the e-mart, said Lookout.

Lookout spotted nine malware-infected apps last week, and another 13 over the weekend.

The company dubbed the malware bundled with the fake apps "RuFraud," and said that the code sent spurious text messages to premium numbers, racking up revenues for the criminals.

While North American users were not affected -- RuFraud was written not to target the U.S., for instance -- people in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, the U.K. and several other eastern European and central Asian countries were.

As in previous malicious app campaigns, the RuFraud apps borrowed elements of legitimate apps, but did not simply snatch complete apps, then re-package them with malicious code, said Lookout.

"They borrowed aspects of other apps, including terminology and in some cases identical text," said Tim Wyatt, a principal engineer at Lookout.

Full story: Computerworld