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Malware is stubborn and hard to remove

Since July, a new strain of malware has been attacking Android smartphones in China.  Dubbed SMSZombie.A, the malware spreads by wallpaper apps on China's largest apps marketplace, GFan.

The apps come with alluring titles, such as "Android Animated Screensaver: Animated Album I Found When I Fixed My Female Coworker's Computer".  

When the user sets the in-app wallpaper as their selected wallpaper, they receive a prompt requesting to download additional files.  Those files are a malware packaged dubbed "Android System Service".  Once installed, that package request administrative privileges, repeatedly popping up the dialogue until the user accepts.

As with various text message scams in the U.S., sending and receiving messages from premium SMS numbers make the bulk of the profit from the malware.  As carriers receive a cut of the profits from premium SMS messages, some carriers have been unwilling to block abusive premium SMS entities, even if it means their customers are being ripped off.  

The new Android malware is particularly clever as it deletes receipts from premium SMS services, disguising the fees from the user.  Researchers suspect the malware may also be attempting to steal bankcard numbers and money transfer receipt details.

SMS Zombie
The SMSZombie malware acts a malicious Trojan [Image Source: TrustGo]

So far 500,000 Android smartphones in China have been infected by SMSZombie, according to TrustGo, a mobile security firm.

As the actual wallpaper apps contain no direct malware, they are hard for mobile antivirus software to detect.  They also reportedly are resistant to removal.

Android malware is most prevalent in China, where poorly regulated third party applications markets dominate the Android software space.  Such markets are oft rife with pirated and malicious applications [1][2][3].

In the last quarter approximately 34 million Android smartphones shipped to the Chinese market, according Canalys [source].  The biggest player is Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), who is shipping close to 10 million units a quarter to the world's biggest smartphone market.  Huawei Technologies Comp. (SHE:002502and HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) also command large Android sales in the market.

Source: SMSZombie

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RE: Yeah, well
By Azethoth on 8/20/2012 5:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
No, they are not idiots. They are trying to use their Android phone as intended. This is why I like the nice curated walled garden of iOS. Everything is working as intended and malware gets removed for you.

Technical people can jailbreak and that serves as a nice barrier to keep out noobs that have no business customizing their phone or whatever it is that makes Android people hot and bothered about hacking their phone.

RE: Yeah, well
By Reclaimer77 on 8/20/2012 5:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah jail is pretty awesome. You get 3 square meals a day, scheduled play and work times, you're looked after. It's just It "just works".

RE: Yeah, well
By chris2618 on 8/20/2012 6:16:02 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, still idiots. If you want to use a piece of equipment and can't be arsed to learn how to use it, you are a lazy idiot. On the other hand if you have tried and just can not get the hang of it, then be intelligent enough to get a less feature rich phone which you do understand.

RE: Yeah, well
By Azethoth on 8/21/2012 6:17:43 AM , Rating: 2
I think I understand why you like Android and not iOS. iOS is for people who do not have enough time in their life to spare on "learning" everything about a phone just so they can use it. They might be doctors or lawyers or Olympic athletes with important things they concentrate on instead. You however are into tech and gadgets and like learning about them. Android is for you. iOS is for them.

It is ok that you think people should be just like you. Sadly, in order to be an Olympic athlete they didn't even have time to go to that movie you went to, read that book you read, or all kinds of other things you did like spend months learning your phone.

Or they could be programmers like myself who are also into tech and gadgets and stuff. However I am already unable to keep up with more than a subset of what goes on in computer science. I value that more than "learning" my phone. Instead I learn my computer, various languages, techniques and strategies that all serve to make me money. If I ever write a phone app I would spend time learning about app development. But waste time hacking a phone. Hell to the no, too busy already.

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