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Android spyware shows dangers of an open app market

Keep an eye on what you download
Mon Feb 28 2011, 11:52

TWO ANDROID SPYWARE PROGRAMS highlight again the dangers of downloading apps without due care and attention on Google's mobile operating system.

The first is called SW.Securephone, which after downloading can run in the background without an icon displayed. It monitors and collects saved SC card data such as messages, call logs, phone location, recorded sound, as well as pictures. This data is then uploaded to a remote server every 20 minutes.

SW.Securephone is particularly worrying as it only takes a blind app install for you to have a hacker invading your privacy. Netquin Mobile, which discovered the spyware, said it was finding its way onto phones through people downloading it from the Internet.

The second app is called SW.Qieting, which forwards messages to a monitoring phone without the user knowing it. Again, because there's no icon after the app is installed, you wouldn't be aware it is running.

This isn't the first time we've seen Android get a spyware app like SW.Qieting, as there is software legally available that allows you to monitor what's happening on a phone of your choice.

Unfortunately, this is a danger with Android, as the OS isn't kept in a walled garden like IOS. This means that users can downloaded apps from dodgy sources, if they so choose.

With Google's market share increasing, you're only going to see more of this. Users should use their common sense for now, but mobile anti-virus software might become more than a passing thought for Android smartphone users. µ


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