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Android malware woes

The malware problem on the world's most popular mobile operating system intensifies and newer types of malware are recognized, which don't just want to steal user info but cause unnecessary expense as well.

Android Marketplace, the application store of the number one operating system in the world today, has more than twenty applications infected with a new type of malware, according to NetQin Mobile, a smartphone security and productivity application developer.

The infected mobile applications include QQ Doudizhu, Voice SMS, Drag Racing, Trader, Donkey Jump, Jungle Monkey and Gold Miner. The malware makes calls and send out messages without the users’ knowledge, pushing up their bills.

Named BaseBridge, the malware can be embedded in legitimate applications. When the applications are being installed, the malware prompts the user to upgrade and once the user chooses to upgrade, the malware is installed in the device under the software name ‘com.android.battery’.

Another pop up then asks the user to restart the app to run it, and the malware is formally activated upon restarting. The malware has also been known to block messages from the service provider pertaining to high usage or payment so that the user is unaware of what the malware is doing.

Google very recently removed some applications from the Android Market, which had been found to be associated with suspicious activity on Android devices.

More than two dozen such applications were found to have malware, and these have been removed by Google; while between 30,000 and 120,000 phones are expected to be affected by these applications, reported Lookout, a mobile security company.

In March, a similar application by the name of Droid Dream was discovered and deleted by Google, followed by remote deletion from the affected smartphones.

There might also be many more such malicious applications online, so it is recommended that only applications from known and trusted sources be installed. The user should also check for the permissions the application is asking for and keep the anti-virus program updated.

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