With the number of smartphones on the market on an ever-increasing rise Google's Android operating system is the first to be hit by a major virus. The malware can steal cash from unsuspecting users by sending premium-rate text messages from their handset.
The virus, discovered by Kaspersky Labs, is believed to be the first booby-trapped application for the operating system. In a security advisory, Kaspersky say " the fake media player was most prevalent among Russian Android users. The risk to Android owners worldwide is believed to be low."
Needless to say there are a huge number of smartphone users who, though app stores are installing large volumes of programs on their phones without really knowing if they are hiding any malicious payloads. This is a problem that's only going to get worse over time.
"We can expect to see a corresponding rise in the amount of malware targeting that platform," said Denis Maslennikov, mobile research group manager at the firm.
There are a significant amount of Java applications that behave in this way, as the BBC has proven recently with it's own malicious app to prove how easy it is to write such code, but this is the first believed to have been written specifically for the Android operating system.
Both Apple and Google monitor the apps that are available for download through their app stores and Microsoft have also said they will do the same with their forthcoming Windows Phone 7 Operating System. Somehow though this virus has still made it through the testing process.
A spokesperson for Google told the BBC...
"Google has a system in place that can revoke malicious applications and stop them running on handsets. Our application permissions model protects against this type of threat. When installing an application, users see a screen that explains clearly what information and system resources the application has permission to access, such as a user's phone number or sending an SMS. Users must explicitly approve this access in order to continue with the installation, and they may uninstall applications at any time. The spokesperson said the firm advises users to "only install apps they trust".
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.