Android Phone Tips

Android Phone Tips
Android malware may be transmitting personal user data to unauthorized computers, indicating increasing security vulnerabilities in the OS and drawing criticism and concern, especially as Android devices grow in business and government usage.

Researchers at Calif.-based security firm Dasient looked at 10,000 applications for Android smartphones in a random sampling, and discovered more than eight percent of the apps transmit personal user data to unauthorized computers.

Called “drive-By downloads,” this category of malware infects a smartphone when its user simply visits a malicious site. The implications of these weaknesses are potentially alarming, especially as smartphone usage grows into businesses. Several businesses, like Deutsche Bank, are moving away from the BlackBerry devices and towards employee’s personal smartphones and devices. But incidents of increasing malware on Google’s OS may have a negative impact, causing the Android OS to lose out in the corporate game.

Malware is becoming increasingly problematic for smartphone owners using the Android operating system. A security firm released unsettling information on growth of mobile malware. A security firm named Dasient studied 10,000 applications for Android smartphones and found that more than 8 percent of the applications are transmitting personal user data to unauthorized computers. This form of malware is designed to take control of a user’s smartphone. If a user pays for SMS messages rather than an unlimited plan, it can easily rack up charges without any interaction from the user besides downloading the application.

It’s also possible that users are unknowingly installing malware when visiting a site. Beyond personal user data, the malware often leaks the IMEI number (specific to the phone) and the IMSI number (specific to the subscriber). 

While we did not observe any outwardly malicious text messages in our sample of 10K apps from the Android Market, we did observe 11 applications that sent text messages that could be considered spam-like. More than 800 Android apps "leaked private information, such as IMEI and IMSIs," the firm said. 

There are now more than 235,000 programs in the Android Market, according to AppBrain, a website for discovering Android apps. The apps studied by Dasient "were chosen at random from 30 different categories of apps in the Android Market," the firm said in its report. 

The site's "low quality app detection filter detects automatically which apps are unlikely to be useful," AppBrain notes. "Google seems to remove apps from the market roughly once a quarter, in which case the total number of available Android apps goes down. The removed apps are almost always classified by our system as low quality apps."
By. Android Phone Tips

Friday, July 22, 2011 | 0 comments | Labels: , ,


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