Android security concerns in the spotlight - Mobile World Live

Android security concerns in the spotlight

02 MAR 2011

VentureBeat reports that “dozens” of apps have been pulled from Android Market due to the inclusion of malware. Apparently, a user investigation of the rogue apps discovered that they contain the DroidDream malware, which includes code that can be used to “break out of the Android application security sandbox,” as well as having the ability to send sensitive user information to a remote server. According to security firm Lookout, more than 50 apps are affected, and while Google has yet to use its remote “kill” capabilities to remove the software from devices where it has already been deployed, the apps are “under active investigation.”

Earlier this week, security firm Symantec noted that “Android malware is on the rise,” with the latest version being Android.Pjapps, which is “spreading through compromised versions of legitimate applications, available on unregulated third-party Android marketplaces.” One of the affected apps it noted was called ‘Steamy Window,’ noting that it is “difficult to differentiate the legitimate version from the malicious one once it is installed.” It said that Android.Pjapps is intended to “build a botnet controlled by a number of different command and control servers” which, among other things, can “install applications, navigate to websites, add bookmarks to [the] browser, send text messages, and optionally block text messages.”

It was noted that unlike in Apple’s controlled iPhone ecosystem, it is possible to download Android applications from various sources, which do not impose the same quality control requirements as Apple’s App Store. Symantec said that “to avoid becoming a victim of such malicious Android applications, we recommend that you only use regulated Android marketplaces for downloading and installing Android applications.”

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