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When you think about hackers and malware, what normally comes to mind is probably the Windows operating system and all of the malware attacks that are targeted at it. However, this is at no fault of the Windows operating system itself, but instead is due to the popularity of the system and the value that a hacker gains by creating an effective hack against it. Apple users, for the most part, have been malware-free because of their low value to hackers.

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With a huge portion of smartphone users relying on the Android platform, we just came across a pretty serious vulnerability that can potentially leave all of your login information open for the world of hackers to see and use to inflict serious damage on your digital and financial life. And to make matters worse, this is a vulnerability that affects 99% of Android users.

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We reported last week that about two dozen official Android market applications were infected with a particularly malicious identity-stealing virus. It turns out that about 58 apps in total had been downloaded, affecting approximately 260,000 phones. To combat the virus, Google has activated an Android kill switch which can remotely delete all malware.

Unlike previous applications of this kill switch, this time Google is going a step further and actually installing a new app (called the “Android Market Security Tool March 2011”) to the infected phones.

“That app, which will be installed automatically no later than Tuesday on all Android phones whose owners had downloaded one or more of the malicious apps, prevents attackers from accessing any additional information by undoing the root access the malware obtained by exploiting vulnerabilities,” writes Gregg Keizer for Computerworld.

While the search engine giant has its cutomers’ best interests at heart, it does beg some skepticism and worry as to how much power they actually have over our personal phones.

(Via Engadget and Computerworld) / (Image by Miki Toshihito, licensed under Creative Commons)

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Most Android users know that there are other means of downloading apps besides going into the app store. Some users scour the Internet for bootleg apps just to avoid paying for them in the app store.  However, this can be risky business since many of the apps found online may be infected with viruses harmful to your phone.

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iphone-g1According to anti-virus and security firm, Sophos, 8000 iPhone and Android smartphones were recently hacked to form a botnet. By downloading an app called WeatherFist, unsuspecting users with jailbroken phones became vulnerable. Fortunately, in this case the botnet was not actually harmful. Instead, it was created by two researchers at TippingPoint Digital Vaccine Labs as a proof of concept experiment to prove how easy it is for these smartphones to be exploited, and just how weak the security is for third party app stores.

Moral of the story – research an app before you insist on downloading and installing it from any of these third party app stores.

(Via Download Squad)

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andorid2There has been lots of talk about the dangers of Jailbroken iPhones, and now it seems that SmartPhone dangers are extending into the world of Android smartphones too. Sophos is reporting that a rogue application is busy stealing users banking information.

According to First Tech Credit Union, there are several applications posing as a shell for mobile banking applications which have the real purpose of phishing personal information about a user’s bank account. The assumption is that this information is going to be used for identity theft. First Tech Credit Union also wants to point out to customers that at this time they do not offer an app for Android devices.

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Yowza is offering Black Friday coupons accessible on your iPhone or Android mobile device. The service allows you to search a specific geographic area for coupons, deals, and discounts. When you find a coupon you want to use,  show your phone to the cashier who in turn will scan the bar code provided. This new way of bargain hunting is completely revolutionizing Black Friday madness and replacing paper coupons.

(Via Huffington Post)

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