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Android virus is spotted

There’s an SMS trojan
Tue Aug 10 2010, 13:20

RUSSIAN MALWARE SLEUTHS Kaspersky Lab has reported the discovery of an SMS Trojan hitting Android handsets.

Researchers at the firm said that it had discovered the first Trojan SMS for the Android operating system. Called the Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, it has already infected a number of mobile devices, according to Kaspersky.

The Trojan makes its way onto app-download happy smartphone devices by pretending to be a media player. The file, which has the standard .APK file extension and weighs in at around 13KB, is taking on all comers, as it wreaks havoc on user phones by sending premium rate messages.

The money from these messages, which happen without user consent or knowledge, goes to straight to cybercriminals, which should surprise no one.

This is not the first attack on an Android device, and in fact Vodafone once cut out the middle man by sending out HTC Magic handsets with the Mariposa botnet already on board. However, Kaspersky explained that this was the first to specifically target the operating system, and said that judging by current reports the number of attacks would keep pace with OS adoption.

"The IT market research and analysis organisation IDC has noted that those selling devices running Android are experiencing the highest growth in sales among smartphone manufacturers. As a result, we can expect to see a corresponding rise in the amount of malware targeting that platform," says Denis Maslennikov, mobile research group manager at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky did not initially say how the Trojan infected its victims, but later confirmed that they were prompted to download the malicious application while browsing the web. One media player must not be enough for some people.

The Android OS provides information on what elements of the system any application will affect. Kaspersky recommends that users pay special attention to this. µ



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