artwork by Andrew Champ •

Apple’s main mobile competitor, Android, isn’t exactly known for being the most secure platform. While Google’s ‘open’ mentality has proven beneficial in many ways for the Android OS, a non-curated system often leads to compromises in security. We’ve already seen numerous malware programs surface on the Android OS, and the latest one is particularly villainous. CA Technologies has discovered a new piece of Android malware that disguises itself as a normal app, but actually has a much more nefarious purpose. Upon installing and granting permissions to this seemingly harmless app, a file will be downloaded from a remote server without the user’s consent. The next time a phone call is made on the infected device, the malware in question records the call as a .amr file to the smartphone’s SD card.
“We have been recently blogging about many Android malware as the threat landscape has been witnessing an increasing trend in targeting the mobileplatforms and today we have received an Android package to our collection and observed that this piece of malware walks an additional mile by having a neat configuration and has a capability to record the telephonic conversation the infected victim makes. In one of our earlier blogs, we have demonstrated how a Trojan logs all the details of incoming/outgoing calls and call duration in a text file. This Trojan is more advanced as it records the conversation itself in “amr” format. Also it has got many other malicious activities that we have seen in many of the earlier malware incidents targeted for Android platform.”
It’s unclear as to why the Trojan saves the recorded call to an SD card, but the advanced nature of the bug suggests that it can not only download, but also upload files without the user’s consent. One of the benefits of Apple’s closed iOS ecosystem is better security. Because Apple monitors everything that gets into the App Store, malware isn’t an issue for iPhone and iPad users. On Android, Trojans like these will continue to pop up until some sort of curation is implemented in the Android Market. For the time being, Android users can take precautions with security software on their smartphones. [via Redmond Pie]

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