When you download smartphone apps from an official app store, iPhone or Android, you usually expect that the applications are monitored and virus free. Unlike iPhone’s app store, however, the Android platform does not actively pre-screen all of their apps, and sometimes malicious viruses sneak through, including phenominally popular apps like Angry Birds.

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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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