Repackaged Android Apps Sold in China Found to Contain Powerful Malware

By Susan J. Campbell January 03, 2011

Smartphones provide considerable capabilities while on the go, but now present another channel for hackers, according to an AFP report. A virus has emerged in China and is infecting mobile phones using Google’s Android operating system. U.S. security experts say the virus enables hackers to gain access to personal data.

Lookout Mobile Security issued a report recently that indicated the new Trojan infecting Android devices has been named “Geinimi,” and can compromise a significant amount of personal data on a user’s phone. That data can then be sent to remote servers for exploitation.

The firm referred to the virus as the most sophisticated Android malware they have seen to date. Officials with the firm noted that once the malware is installed on a user’s phone, it has the ability to receive commands from a remote server, allowing the server owner to control the phone.

According to Lookout Mobile Security, the authors of Geinimi have raised the sophistication bar significantly over and above Android malware that has surfaced in the past, simply by employing techniques to disguise the activities of the virus.

A motive for the virus has not been identified, although Lookout officials believe it could be used for anything from "a malicious ad-network to an attempt to create an Android botnet," as stated in the AFP report.

Lookout advises that only users downloading Android apps from China are likely to be affected. These apps include repackaged versions of Monkey Jump 2, Sex Positions, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010, which are sold in China.

The firm added that while there are instances of games repackaged with the Trojan, the original versions available in the official Google Android Market are not affected and can be safely downloaded.

In other Google news, TechZone360 recently reported that the Internet giant selected Babylon.com as one of its six worldwide official localization vendors. As part of Google’s AdWords program, the Google advertisers will be provided translation services by Babylon.com.

Online ads are likely to continue to be a focus of investment. The Wall Street Journal reported U.S. advertisers spent more on Internet ads than on print newspaper ads for the first time since the Internet was created.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TechZone360 and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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