Mar 1, 2011

Two Android viruses circulating in the wild

Two Google Android viruses have been spotted circulating and infecting users’ smartphones in the wild. The viruses are potentially nasty because one – SW.SecurePhone – uploads data to remote servers from the users' handset, while the other – SW.Qieting – auto-forwards messages to a remote number.

NetQin Mobile, a Chinese smartphone security specialist, spotted the two viruses late last week and recommends that Android users check their mobile bills regularly for any unexplained charges.
According to NetQin, once installed SW.SecurePhone will run in the background without any icon being displayed and will monitor the phone, as well as collecting data to save on the SD card.
"The data – including messages, call log, location of the phone, recorded sounds around the phone and pictures in the phone – will then be uploaded to a remote server every 20 minutes . This will compromise privacy as well as use up internet traffic", says the firm.
"This virus is mainly distributed in the US through downloading from the internet", the company added.
SW.Qieting, meanwhile, is said to automatically forward messages received to a monitoring phone without the user being aware.
The malware is difficult to detect, says the company, since there is no icon displayed on the Android handset's screen following installation.
These two Android viruses, says NetQin, are proof that security threats in the wild are now a real threat.
As a result of its discoveries, the firm recommends that Android users should only download applications from trusted sources and always check reviews, ratings and developer information before downloading.
Android users should also never blindly accept application requests, and closely monitor permissions requested by any application.
"An application should not request to do more than what it offers in its official list of features", the company notes.


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