SMS Trojan Infects Multiple Android Applications

Monday, May 16, 2011

Headlines

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Eleven applications designed to run on the Android operating system have been removed by Google from the Android Market after researchers at AegisLab discovered the apps contained malware.

The malware will cause the infested phones to automatically send SMS text messages to premium phone numbers in China, either as part of a text spam operation or as a means of accruing expensive charges for the victim.

According to Matt Liebowitz, "Google has removed the offending apps, published by "zsone," from the official Android Market, but researchers at the security firm Kaspersky Lab said it's possible the malware, classified as a Trojan because it hides inside software, affects more than the 11 apps AegisLab found..."

The malware infested applications that have been identified and removed from the Android Market so far include:

  • iBook
  • iCartoon
  • LoveBaby
  • 3D Cube horror terrible
  • Sea Ball
  • iCalendar
  • iMatch
  • Shake Break
  • ShakeBanger
  • iMine
  • iGuide 

With the dramatic increase in smartphone usage, there has been a corresponding increase in the targeting of mobile devices by criminal malware producers, and Google's Android has had its share of problems keeping infected applications off the "approved" marketplace..

"The real problems, however, really began in early March, when more than 50 free Android apps were found to harbor DroidDream, a particularly nasty Trojan that could steal sensitive data from phones and download malicious code to phones from remote servers," Liebowitz wrote.

Also in March, the pirated version of Android's Walk and Talk application was found to be sending private user data to an external server.

In April, a serious vulnerability was identified in Skype's Android application that could have allowed attackers to harvest a victim's contact information.

Last week, Juniper Networks has released a report which reveals that samples of malware strains targeting devices running the Android operating system increased 400% between June of 2010 and January of 2011.

The report notes that there needs to be an increase in diligence by those who approve applications for distribution in the marketplace, as well as more proactive security efforts on the part of consumers.

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