Symantec finds bot-like malware on Android Market

January 29th, 2012 | by Aaron Tan

Symantec has discovered over a dozen apps with malicious code that could cede control of your smartphone to perpetrators.

In a recent blog post, the security company said the apps, which are hosted on the Android Market, can be used to propagate a “bot-like threat that can receive commands to carry out certain actions, as well as steal information from the device”.

These threats are also known as botnets, where a collection of compromised computers can be controlled by a central server to launch denial-of-service attacks. Private information such as bank account numbers on compromised devices could also be stolen by cybercriminals.

According to Symantec, the malicious code is grafted onto the apps in a package called “apperhand”. Once launched, a service with the same name may be seen running on a compromised device. A search icon will also appear on the home screen

The malicious apps appear to be from three publishers: iApps7 Inc, Ogre Games and redmicapps. About half of the apps in question have been removed from the Android Market as of today.

Malware targeting mobile devices are expected to increase this year. The hardest hit are likely to be Android-based devices, given the operating system’s large market share and open innovation platform, said ICSA Labs, a division of Verizon Business that tests and certifies security products.

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