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Android Market spiked with malware-laced apps

Jeremy Kirk | March 3, 2011
More than 50 applications have been found to contain code that steals personal data from Android smartphones

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.

Google does not review applications before submission to its official Android Market. That is in sharp contrast to Apple and its App Store, which has a rigorous review process that can take at times several weeks for an application to be vetted.

Google's rationale is that it removes barriers for developers that delays putting their applications in the hands of users and encourages fast innovation.

Nonetheless, the recent rash of malware could make Google reconsider, even as users continue to be encouraged to patrol the Android Market and report suspicious applications.

 

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