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16 May 2011, 15:24

Android malware subscribes to premium SMS services

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Android Security specialist Sophos reports that various apps on the Android Market have attempted to make users in China subscribe to premium SMS services without obtaining permission. The malicious apps purport to be developed by software vendor Zsone, but the version numbers of these apps differ from those of the developer's legitimate apps.

Once installed the apps automatically send out SMS text messages that sign users up with a premium rate service. To prevent the victims from becoming suspicious, the malware then monitors incoming text messages and attempts to intercept any confirmation messages that users may receive.

Affected apps include iMatch, 3D Cube Horror Terrible, ShakeBanger, Shake Break, Sea Ball, iMine, iCalendar, LoveBaby, iCartoon and iBook. Sophos said that the subscription is only successful if the Android smartphone is registered with a Chinese mobile network. The authors of the AegisLab blog, who first discovered the apps, said that Google has now responded and removed the malware from the Market. Their report doesn't mention how long it took Google to do so.

This isn't the first time that malicious apps have been deployed via the official Android Market. Only in March, Google removed more than 50 infected apps from its store and then used the controversial remote removal feature to delete the malware from already infected devices.


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