Whenever I talk to people about what they like in Android I’m almost always certain to receive, at one point or the other, an answer leading to the same concept: Freedom. And, of course, I am always reminded that this is something I’m not likely to see on Windows Phone, for instance. This Freedom and Openness does come at a price and even though malware in general is a sign of platform maturity, we can all agree that we’d be better off without it.
A total number of 21 popular free Android applications from the Android Market have been turned into malware. They were downloaded, hijacked/stolen, injected with a root exploit code — and who knows what else — re-uploaded and installed, by deceived users, on 50k-200k devices. Android Police is reporting that there’s more to the story than apps rooting the device. Once installed, they post IMEI and IMSI numbers to a certain address, steal information related to product ID, model, carrier, language, country, and userID.
There’s also a built-in ability of the application to download even more code which basically means close to total control over the smartphone. Hats off to Google for removing the applications five minutes after first notice as well as remotely wiping them off people’s smartphones. Unfortunately that does not make up for all the information that has been lost/stolen. Check out the source link for a list of the applications infected.
Every garden has its weeds and there’s no way in judging a platform, its security, features, freedom, the very principles that lay at its foundation because of similar incidents. But nevertheless, there are two issues at hand here: 1. Google did indeed remove the applications five minutes after first notice but until then, many thousands of people have been exposed and private information has been lost/stolen. Google does not vet every application in the Market which leaves room for such events to happen, affecting many users. 2. It happened before and it will happen again, the only difference being the number of users/smartphones affected.
Do you think Google should start vetting all applications submitted to the market before accepting them? Do you think we’ve reached a point when there’s a need for permanent anti-malware protection on your smartphone? Do you think the openness of the platform is both its major feature as well as flaw? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Source: Android Police