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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sickiphoneAs smartphones have become de facto computers for some people, they have offered an added advantage of almost being impossible to hack. With the closed off and tightly controlled mobile phone industry of the United States offering a mobile system that has both advanced software impenetrable to significant malware and that is isolated from the rest of the world, American mobile phone users are generally heavily protected from danger behind a wall of mobile security that is generally stronger than it is for smartphone users overseas.

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