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Google Removes 21 Apps from Android Market

David Gilbert

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Google Removes 21 Apps from Android Market

Google has reacted very quickly to reports from bloggers about malware apps posing as free copies of popular software by removing them - but not before 50,000 people downloaded them.

Android Police bloggers reported to Google that certain popular apps were attempting to gain root access to phones, gathering a wide range of information and even creating a back door to allow more code to be downloaded. Google removed the offending software within five minutes of getting the report from Android Police. Google also remotely removed the offending apps from users’ devices but unfortunately that doesn’t remove any code that’s already been backdoored in.

The publisher of the apps goes by the name of Myournet but they have now been removed from the Market and you can no longer see the apps captured in the above screenshot. It has been discovered that the apps could capture a lot of information regarding the phone and its user, including product ID, model, provider, language, country, and userID. The open nature of Android is obviously something that has been debated before and while not the first, this is the highest profile case of malware being found in the Market.

Among the free apps which were pulled from the Market following the report from Android Police were: Falling Down, Super Guitar Solo, Super History Eraser, Photo Editor, Super Ringtone Maker, Super Sex Positions, Hot Sexy Videos, Chess, Falldown, Hilton Sex Sound, Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls, Falling Ball Dodge, Scientific Calculator, Dice Roller, Advanced Currency Converter, APP Uninstaller, PewPew, Funny Paint and Spider Man. If you have downloaded any of these apps let us know, especially if you have noticed anything strange with your phone.

Source: Android Police

Don Kanonjii

March 2, 2011, 7:12 pm

Just uninstalling Guitar Solo now... Any idea what the apps were up to or was it just fishing for info?

Don Kanonjii

March 2, 2011, 7:14 pm

Actually, the only odd behaviour i have experienced is Apps running in the background without prompt and starting up and running in the background shortly after they wee allkilled using advanced task killer.

Hamish Campbell

March 2, 2011, 8:51 pm

Damn, 'Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls' was one of my daily must check apps. Any one know a good alternative?

Zero

March 2, 2011, 9:27 pm

I have the same problem with the Task Killer. Apps open up on there own and I always check the task killer and see loads of apps open. So I close them next time I pull out my phone apps are open again. Apps I haven't opened myself!!!

Jay4d0

March 2, 2011, 10:30 pm

the fragmented nature of android is of no help to the user here, 2.2.2 and above are patched and immune, but the ammount of devices that can be affected will be millions.
this is one of the major reasons why manufacturers have to take very seriously the need to update/patch their phones (and networks have to let them), and painfully demonstrates why if you want an android phone your only real option is to go with the google device (nexus 1 and S) as you know it will be propmtly patched and secure.

the worst case scenario is a significant browser exploit, infecting you just by visiting an infected website, if you have a nexus device you will likely be patched pretty sharpish direct from google, if you have any other device you could be waiting months or even years and then (if you havent bought sim free) the network may never approve the update.

now that phones are becoming much more like a computer you would not stand for a network or a manufacturer to control which windows updates you could have would you?

@Don Kanonjii: it is my understanding that the infected apps had root access to your phone and could write their own backdoors into the OS, therefore simply uninstalling the app would not solve the problem, as you would have to reinstall the OS (full factory reset).
You basically have to think in the security mind of a windows PC, and I fear that is exactly what/and how android will be in the future unless the manufacturers and networks pull their finger out and figure out a way to keep their users safe and secure.

even iOS has this problem with the 1st gen iPhone and iPod touch both having the PDF exploit and neither being updated anymore, though I fear android could potentially be far worse affected because of the sheer number of devices and manufacturers, and locked into the networks stone age ways.

Jammy

March 3, 2011, 5:46 pm

Downloaded PewPew, no problems though! It's a cool game btw!

Runadumb

March 3, 2011, 6:40 pm

Ah bollocks I downloaded pewpew as well. Normally ignore games on my phone but just seen that and tried it. It's not like it asked for any weird permissions or anything. Something I keep an eye on.
So what's google stance on this? Should I factory reset my device?

That walled Apple garden is looking rosy right now. Well, at least it would if I could see into over the stupid wall. If only they had a more ope...oh wait, bugger!

Runadumb

March 3, 2011, 6:46 pm

Oh coolsmartphone said the root doesn't work on 2.2.2 devices. I'm currently running gingerbread, Phew.
On a side note pewpew was actually not bad but my thumbs take up way to much of the screen. If only there was some kind off offscreen controls, something that had actual buttons. Hmmmm, well I guess no one will ever invite something that crazy!

Jay4d0

March 3, 2011, 7:32 pm

@Jammy and Runadumb:
if you installed this PewPew https://market.android.com/det... then you are 100% not infected, as this is the 100% legit version

the malware apps were the same game but stolen and modified then distributed under the 'Myournet' developers name, therefore the infected one was called '几何战机_PewPew'.
hope that clears up any confusion.

Runadumb

March 4, 2011, 2:14 am

Thanks for the info Jay. I think that was the one I downloaded but can't be sure as I deleted it shortly after.

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