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    Author Archive - Kervin Alintanahin (Threats Analyst)

    The Android Market was once again infiltrated by malware, as a handful of premium service abusers (which we detect as ANDROIDOS_RUFRAUD.A) posed as legitimate apps were uploaded to the site. A few users were able to install the malicious apps before Google took them down– a fast reaction due to the quick responses from vigilant users and security firms.

    Although the malicious apps are now off the Android Market, we must all be consistently on guard for malicious apps that may be able to find their way there in the future. Especially with Android offering their 10-cent sale to celebrate their 10 billion downloads, users are more likely to install offered apps to take advantage of the apps’ low cost.

    To help users keep their Android device malware-free as they load them with more cool apps, in this post we will point out some key items to keep in mind before installing apps:

    Be familiar with the developer/s behind popular apps

    Cybercriminals regularly leverage certain apps’ popularity and attempt to do so by imitating the popular apps. But since they can not pose as the original developers, the developer’s name can be a good indicator for legitimacy. For example, the real Android Market page for the game Angry Birds shows that it was developed by Rovio Mobile, while the malicious one was developed by a user named Logastrod:

    Click for larger view Click for larger view

    Users can also check the developer’s profile for other apps. Google also offers developer ratings, as well as the status “Editor’s Choice” that can further validate the developer’s legitimacy.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    For the past week or so, the Internet has been buzzing over Carrier IQ – an application that is apparently preinstalled in devices to monitor network and handset performance – and the privacy issues surrounding it.

    There are several issues surrounding the reports about Carrier IQ, issues around the kind of information it gathers, the fact that it comes preinstalled in certain devices without asking for user consent, and about what users can do about it.

    According to reports, Carrier IQ logs information such as sent or received text messages, Internet searches made, and phone numbers typed into devices. This routine was confirmed through the video posted by Trevor Eckhart, the researcher who initially raised the flag on Carrier IQ.

    All Part of the Service

    Let us consider the purpose of Carrier IQ: it is an application designed to monitor the performance of the network and the handset. The performance of the carrier can be measured by checking if the services they offer are served properly, services such as text messaging, calls, Internet connection, and others.

    Based on this, we can say that collecting information related to the usage of the aforementioned phone features makes a whole lot of sense, or is even a necessity for carriers to effectively monitor and troubleshoot the services they offer.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    Click for larger view
    A new threat wants to subscribe your device to premium services.

    A few months back, we reported about an Android malware targeting China Mobile subscribers by abusing premium services, and more recently, one that monitors for certain keywords in text messages. What’s the connection between these two? Well, we were able to analyze an Android malware sample that does both of the previously mentioned routines.

    Detected as ANDROIDOS_AUTOSUBSMS.A, this sample was found in Trojanized versions of certain applications, which are still currently available for download in certain Chinese third-party app stores.

    It installs the receiver called util.Smsreceiver, which executes every time an infected device receives a message. It also asks for certain permissions that the receiver requires to work. These permissions are not included in the app’s original version.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Malware, Mobile | Comments Off on Premium Abusers Also Check for Keywords

    We recently discussed a new Trojanized Android app sample. Today, we will discuss yet another one. This new Android malware is known as GoldDream and is detected by Trend Micro as ANDROIDOS_SPYGOLD.A.

    The particular app that was Trojanized in this attack was a racing game called “Fast Racing.” For a game, this Trojanized version needs a lot of permissions—more than is typical for something similar.

    Read the rest of this entry »



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