Last week, the Android team was made aware of a number of malicious applications published to Android Market. Within minutes of becoming aware, they removed the malicious applications. According to the company, the apps are malware aimed at getting root access to the user’s device, gathering a wide range of available data, and downloading more code to it without the user’s knowledge.
The following 21 malware apps have already been downloaded by at least 50, 000 Android users.
- Falling Down
- Super Guitar Solo
- Super History Eraser
- Photo Editor
- Super Ringtone Maker
- Super Sex Positions
- Hot Sexy Videos
- Hilton Sex Sound
- Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls
- Falling Ball Dodge
- Scientific Calculator
- Dice Roller
- Advanced Currency Converter
- APP Uninstaller
- Funny Paint
- Spider Man
Google claimed that the applications took advantage of known vulnerabilities which don’t affect Android versions 2.2.2 or higher. For affected devices, the only information the attacker(s) were able to gather was device-specific (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device).
As per the official blog post from Google Mobile blog, following steps are taken to protect the users –
- We removed the malicious applications from Android Market, suspended the associated developer accounts, and contacted law enforcement about the attack.
- We are remotely removing the malicious applications from affected devices. This remote application removal feature is one of many security controls the Android team can use to help protect users from malicious applications.
- We are pushing an Android Market security update to all affected devices that undoes the exploits to prevent the attacker(s) from accessing any more information from affected devices. If your device has been affected, you will receive an email from email@example.com over the next 72 hours. You will also receive a notification on your device that “Android Market Security Tool March 2011” has been installed. You may also receive notification(s) on your device that an application has been removed. You are not required to take any action from there; the update will automatically undo the exploit. Within 24 hours of the exploit being undone, you will receive a second email.
- We are adding a number of measures to help prevent additional malicious applications using similar exploits from being distributed through Android Market and are working with our partners to provide the fix for the underlying security issues.
Android Market is open unlike App Store which can be great and unfortunate in different instances; and users are encouraged to read user reviews before downloading any app. Always, play it safe!