Over 500K Chinese Android Phones are Infected With SMSZombie
August 20, 2012 1:26 PM
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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,
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.
The SMSZombie malware acts a malicious Trojan [Image Source: TrustGo]
So far 500,000 Android smartphones in China have been infected by SMSZombie,
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 [
In the last quarter approximately 34 million Android smartphones shipped to the Chinese market, according Canalys [
]. The biggest player is Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), who is shipping close to 10 million units a quarter to the world's biggest smartphone market. Huawei Technologies Comp. (
) also command large Android sales in the market.
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RE: Yeah, well
8/20/2012 6:10:54 PM
Until the Apple App store mobile apps were a strictly small time minority interest. A tiny and trivial market. Apple's App store changed that and Apple has always tried to use the predominance of it's app store to set the general price of apps (and other content like music, films) as low it could within the limits of the power of independent developers and content owners. Apple sets the price bar low on it's own apps which have premium functionality (iOS apps like GarageBand, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers etc) in order to try to keep app prices low. Why?
Two reasons one major one minor.
The major reason is that Apple is a hardware company, it makes things and it makes almost all it's money selling things.
Everything else Apple does — software, iTunes, Genius Bars — only exists to push up hardware sales and profits.
The minor reason is that by pushing down the average price of apps it guts any profits that software companies like Microsoft can make and although gutting Microsoft has not been a major aim of Apple's strategic direction and decisions it has been a very pleasing side effect. I love watching it happen and I am sure they do as well.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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