Android Games Used As Trojan For Malicious Apps

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Malware disguised as popular Android Games were discovered recently by Google’s security team. By now over 10,000 downloads.

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Updated:December 19th, 2011


Malware disguised as popular Android Games were discovered in recently by Google’s security team. Despite being removed by Google, over 10,000 downloads of the malicious Android Games had already been performed by unwitting Android Phone users.

About a dozen free Android Games, such as Angry Birds and Assassin’s Creed, were published to the Android Market yesterday morning by developer Logastrod. The author published the apps after including code to the games that would allow SMS messages to be sent to premium line numbers. Vanja Svajcer, of the blog Sophos, detailed the damage unaware downloaders can suffer after installing such apps:

When a malicious app is installed, it starts sending or receiving messages, which makes the installation very expensive for the user. Misusing premium SMS services is the most common model for malicious mobile malware. The damage is often seen only when it is too late, once a monthly bill is received.

Google has implemented security screens that require the user’s acknowledgement that the apps were able to edit, read, and receive text and multimedia messages before the download of the app can be completed, but such a policy appears to not protect the users enough.

Other criticism directed at Google’s failure to protect its users suggest that Google should improve the way in which they educate users to protect themselves more effectively. As it stands, Google leaves its Android users in the lurch because their “caveat emptor approach means it’s up to users to make sure they don’t get swindled while shopping in the company’s official apps bazaar.

That they don’t have a stricter policy for app publishing is a disrespectful gesture towards their customers who clearly are not tech-savvy enough to be suspicious of every download. Worse than simply taking a knee on the issue, Google seems to have excused themselves with the equivalent of an Alfred P. Neuman security policy that simply shrugs, “What, me worry?”

What do you think? Should Google be doing more to keep their Android Market free of malware, or does the responsibility fall to the Android Users.

Let us know below in the comments.



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