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Beware of Malware in the Android Market

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Malware in sheep's clothing has been infecting Android devices. The dangerous apps have been pulled from the Android Market, but not before tens of thousands of users had been bitten.

A Trojan embedded in lookalike apps used a root exploit to gain access to the phone's data and to download more malicious code. These apps use an Android executable file (APK) to snag user and device data. The apps have been deleted from phones, but the residue can still cause problems. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is reported to be working on that.

Concerns and notifications reportedly came from a developer, a Reddit user, and finally the Android Police, according to eCommerce Times. The disguised apps are all pirated versions of popular games and utilities. The app publisher Myournet is being blamed for many of the fictitious apps.

You should also be concerned about apps from a developer named "we20090202" and a publisher named "Kingmall2010". The apps include Super Ringtone Maker, Magic Strobe Light, Funny Face, and, ironically, App Uninstaller. Many of the rouge apps contain the enticing word "Sex." You can find a full list of the fake apps at PC Magazine's Security Watch.

Although Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is thought to have tighter security than Android, Neil Shah, analyst for wireless devices strategies at Strategy Analytics, warned: "There have been instances where a bunch of third-party apps on the App Store have been quarantined after reported security threats, and higher threats loom for the jailbroken devices."

Google also moved fast once a threat had been identified. Chris Hazelton, research director for mobile and wireless at the 451 Group, commented: "The actions taken by Google to quickly -- once identified - remove the apps listed in Android Market and remotely wipe these apps from users' devices shows that Google does have substantial security tools."

Symantec warns that Android malware is increasing. They give Android.Pjapps as another example that goes after Android devices. It is a Trojan that has back door capabilities. These apps spread through compromised versions of legitimate applications. You can see an example at Symantec's site of how a revised Steamy Window can fool you into believing it is the real thing.

Many experts noted that the openness of Android was great for developers, not so great for users. Nor do they feel it is ready for prime time in the Enterprise market, because of such security concerns.

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2011, at 4:27 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Android looks really bad - until it's compared to any Windows product.

  • Report this Comment On March 05, 2011, at 9:16 PM, FreeRange1 wrote:

    Android users get what they pay for and deserve! The culture of free and "open".

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2011, at 1:06 PM, platymapus wrote:

    I've been waiting for this happen. I hope android pushes apple but other than that, there is no way I'm going down that road. Been there with windows.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2011, at 12:12 AM, mclinb3001 wrote:

    Nothing is immune to worries...

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