Tag Archive: Android Phones


Russian BadNews bug found in Android app store

Security researchers have identified 32 separate apps on Google Play that harboured a bug called BadNews.

On infected phones, BadNews stole cash by racking up charges from sending premium rate text messages.

The malicious program lay dormant on many handsets for weeks to escape detection, said security firm Lookout which uncovered BadNews.

The malware targeted Android owners in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries in eastern Europe.

The exact numbers of victims was hard to calculate, said Lookout, adding that figures from Google Play suggest that between two and nine million copies of apps booby trapped with BadNews were downloaded from the store.

In a blogpost, Lookout said that a wide variety of apps were harbouring the BadNews malware. It found the programme lurking inside recipe generators, wallpaper apps, games and pornographic programmes.

The 32 apps were available through four separate developer accounts on Play. Google has now suspended those accounts and removed all the affected apps from its online store. No official comment from Google has yet been released.

Lookout said BadNews concealed its true identity by initially acting as an “innocent, if somewhat aggressive, advertising network”. In this guise it sent users news and information about other infected apps, and prompted people to install other programmes.

BadNews adopted this approach to avoid detection systems that look for suspicious behaviour and stop dodgy apps being installed, said Lookout.

This masquerade ended when apps seeded with BadNews got a prompt from one of three command and control servers, then it started pushing out and installing a more malicious programme called AlphaSMS. This steals credit by sending text messages to premium rate numbers.

Users were tricked into installing AlphaSMS as it was labelled as an essential update for either Skype or Russian social network Vkontakte.

Security firm Lookout said BadNews was included in many popular apps by innocent developers as it outwardly looked like a useful way to monetise their creations. It urged app makers to be more wary of such “third party tools” which they may include in their code.

Half of the 32 apps seeded with BadNews are Russian and the version of AlphaSMS it installed is tuned to use premium rate numbers in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Source: BBC News

WARNING: Factory Resetting your Android may leave private data on your device

It’s never fun to have to issue a warning, but a new study by the LA Times indicates that the Factory Reset function on Android devices may not work as advertised. The site worked with a security expert to run a test on BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices as well as PCs. It discovered that important, sensitive data could be retrieved on a large portion of Android devices even after the Factory Reset feature had been properly used.

Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert from McAfee performed the experiment, where he purchased 30 used devices (mostly smartphones and laptops) from random users on Craigslist. His goal was to see how smart people were about removing their personal information from phones, but as it turns out, even though a majority of owners did correctly Factory Reset their Android devices, he was still able to retrieve vital data like “Social Security numbers, child support documents, credit card account log-ins, and a host of other personal data.” This finding is all the more disturbing since he could find no problems with the way iPhones, iPads, or BlackBerry devices delete their data. The only other weak link was Windows XP, which is so old it’s almost expected.

We’ve reached out to Google’s Android team to try and learn more about this potential vulnerability, but have not heard back as of publication. We’ll update this article if and when we get some answers.

Until we learn more, we don’t recommend that you don’t sell your used Android devices to anyone that you don’t know or trust. It’s quite possible that personal information could be leaked from it.

Ryan: I’ve owned a couple Android phones and I also have the Galaxy Tab.. I am back to BlackBerry and using the 9900, I find Android Phones to drop calls and bug out with force close errors more often like I like when using a phone.  And I can’t seem to drop this keyboard.. emails are much quicker on a BlackBerry than other devices. It would be interesting if RIM decided to let other companies use their keyboard design.

Source: DigitalTrends

AirDroid flies between your Android device and your computer

The tagline reads “enjoy your Android over the air,” but perhaps more accurate would be “enjoy your Android over your computer.” AirDroid connects your Android device to your desktop, laptop or tablet — really anything that can browse the web — and lets you send messages, browse photos or files, set ringtones, uninstall apps, and many other things that can be done more easily through a larger screen and perhaps a mouse and full-sized keyboard. If you want this type of functionality, don’t hesitate to download this free app.

I’ve used other apps that claim to provide the same or similar features, but this is the best that I’ve personally tried. It’s easy — just launch AirDroid and it shows a specific URL (IP address) to type in your browser and a password to keep it secure. It’s fast, too. Once your browser connects, just click through the big icons on the web page to navigate into picture and files, view the call log, read text messages, and a lot more in a second. It’s also secure. AirDroid doesn’t store any of your info on its systems, and the password changes with each use (or you can set your own password if you prefer). All this, and it’s 100 percent free.

Once you control your phone over a computer screen, you’ll want to do so every time you’re near a computer. It’s very convenient. The app works its magic over a Wi-Fi connection.

Source: Appolicious