Google are dealing with a growing infestation of Malware which threatens to damage the Android market. They have had to remove more dodgy programs in the last week. A security researcher who found the rogue software reported it to Google who acted swiftly, but it begs the question. Do they need to tighten up their vetting procedures?
On June 5th Google have had to remove 10 applications after an assistant professor Xuxian Jiang reported the code. The new malicious code is being called ‘Plankton’. Andrew Brandt, a lead threat research analyst at Webroot has also commented on the new code.
He said “It has the ability to remotely access a command-and-control [C&C] server for instructions, and upload additional payloads. It uses a very stealthy method to push any malware it wants to phone.”
Plankton doesn’t need to rely on a vulnerability to ‘root’ itself into the phone or even gain complete control either. Once the application is installed, the Plankton code can pass over more files from the hacker controlled server, including some which can exploit unpatched Android bugs.
The problem is being classed as serious by researchers who are concerned that Android is coming under attack by more and more malware applications in recent months.
Plankton can take data from the phone and pass it back to the source creator, this can include bookmark history and other personal information. The code creators are using the success of the Angry Birds game to planet ‘addons’ or ‘cheats’ for the title, which pose as legitimate files, but are in fact malware.
Other malware in recent months includes DroidKingFu, which has been found on Chinese app stores. This is a trojan horse application which sends text messages to premium numbers, inflicting a high bill on the smartphone owner.
Google also have to remove 50 programs in March, when a huge raft of malware infected programs were found. Two weeks ago Google suspended 36 more applications from the market said to contain malware code.
KitGuru says: Google are going to have to tighten up their approval scheme otherwise things will get out of hand.