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Google Removes 10 New Malware Apps from Android Market

Steven Blum

Google has removed 10 Angry Birds-related apps from the market after a professor at North Carolina State reported they were infected with Malware. Xuxian Jiang, the professor who found the apps, said that they run in the background in order to send phone information to a remote server. The professor labeled the new kind of malware "plankton."

“Plankton is the first one that we are aware of that exploits Dalvik-class loading capability to stay stealthy and dynamically extend its own functionality,” Jiang wrote. “Our investigation indicates that there are at least 10 infected Android apps in the official Android Market from three different developers. Its stealthy design also explains why some earlier variants have been there for more than two months without being detected by current mobile anti-virus software.”

The apps were disguised as cheats for beating Angry Birds and Google removed them the same day they were notified by Jiang. 

We wish there was a way to check apps for malware before they're released to Android Market, but malware software is, unfortunately, ever-evolving. It would be expensive and time-consuming for Google to screen apps, but the company needs to get faster at responding to claims of malware. This is a tough issue, though, and every solution brings more problems. What do you think should be done about malware in Android Market? 

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Write new comment:
  • Martin Krischik Jun 14, 2011 Link

    If we can´t have “perfect” Virus scanner then we have none? That is a cheap excuse. Any Virus scanning on market **upload** is better none.