Android Market spiked with malware-laced apps

More than 50 applications have been found to contain code that steals personal data from Android smartphones

More than 50 applications containing malware have been discovered in Google's application market for its Android mobile OS, a sign that hackers are hard at work trying to compromise mobile devices.

The 50 or so applications, which came from three rogue publishers, appear to have repackaged some legitimate applications with code called "DroidDream," which can export a slew of data from a device, according to a blog post from Lookout Mobile Security. Lookout provides a list of the affected applications, many of which have adult-themed titles such as "Super Sexy Ringtones" and "Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls."

Lookout says the affected apps were discovered by a person with the handle "Lompolo," who wrote about the issue on the Reddit website.

Some of the applications appear identical to the original ones, but come from different publishers going by the names of "Kingmall2010," "we20090202" and "Myournet."

"I just randomly stumbled into one of the apps, recognized it and noticed that the publisher wasn't who it was supposed to be," Lompolo wrote.

Google has apparently begun pulling some of the suspect applications. It is also possible for Google to remotely kill Android applications installed on phones, but Lookout wrote that "we recently learned that the remote removal system has not yet been engaged for these applications because they are under active investigation." Google officials contacted in London did not have an immediate comment.

Lompolo wrote that two of the applications analyzed contained a root exploit called "rageagainstthecage" that contained a text string "CVE-2010-EASY Android local root exploit (C) 2010 by 743C."

Using that exploit, the phones were then infected with DroidDream, which is code that sends information such as a phone's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), a unique code held inside a phone's SIM card, to a remote server located in Fremont, California, according to Lompolo.

But since DroidDream has root-level access to the phone, virtually any data on the phone could be stolen, and importantly, other malware could be uploaded to the device, according to further analysis done by the website Android Police.

Android Police found another file installed in one of the affected applications that can steal product IDs, phone model details, operator information, language used on the phone plus other data.

Several malicious applications have been found in third-party markets for Android applications, particularly aimed at Chinese-speaking Android users. Last month, Lookout said it had found that popular mobile games such as Monkey Jump are being illegally copied and repackaged with code designed to steal personal information or perform other malicious functions.

In December, Lookout found a piece of Android malware called "Geinimi" that contained functions similar to botnet code designed for a PC and communicated with a remote command-and-control server. More variants of Geinimi have appeared since then, a sign that hackers are continually developing its code.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitymalwaremobile securityGoogleAndroiddata protectiondata breachPhonesconsumer electronicsExploits / vulnerabilitiesLookout Mobile Security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?