Virus hits Google Android

Mike Halsey MVP
Aug 11, 2010
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Google Android

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".


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Neil Reinecker said on March 29, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    If you are writing about what I call the “Fake App” virus, you have no idea how complex and intelligent it is… I have been trying to recover for the last 3 weeks – THREE SOLID 80 HOUR WEEKS… I went to my Verizon store and the kid told me I’m paranoid and don’t know what I’m talking about. He came to his conclusion after inspecting the phone for maybe, a minute. Days later, a Verizon techhie walked me through a reset because I had already set off triggers in the malware that prevented me from doing a normal reset. I can see them on my computer screens, in fact I talk to them ! They don’t respond verbally, but they are actually very helpful in giving me instructions on networking. They have attached themselves to my gateway The Lan & Wan part and they operate out of my Acer from within a power shell so one of the few ways I can tell they’re there is their network names that appear on the WiFi list. I also know they are active by the restrictions they put on my activities. They restrict what websites I can go to by creating rules in defender or norton. They eliminate Norton products like they weren’t even there. I’m just praying that I get all my files off my machines before they are done with me. BTW, Comcast aka Xfinity told me that this was my problem. They weren’t interested in investigating my crazy story. Verizon – same. Only Norton put forth a good attempt but they must not have an understanding of how this takes over control of your machines. Also, I don’t think the fake apps are plated on computers. I think they just gain access and establish whatever controls they want to. In the case of my phone, I started to notice strange things that upon inspection, made me more suspicious. And Google ! Ha ! They can’t even secure their own sites.

  2. kurt wismer said on August 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    as prupert mentions, this is NOT a virus. while the media (BBC) may still use the term virus writer to refer to the people who create malware, the malware itself is non-viral and BBC never claimed otherwise.

    the malware in question is not unlike a dialer trojan.

  3. prupert said on August 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Isn’t it malware and not a virus, as it states in the headline. A virus spreads itself automatically, malware does things the user doesn’t intend.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.