New Payment Malware Discovered In Chinese Android App Stores, Affecting Over 500,000 Devices

With recent releases of iOS, we have seen Apple reaching out and adding additional support for the growing number of Chinese users who are switching over to the iPhone. That support has been further extended with announcements made during their Worldwide Developers Conference in June, with the next major release of iOS featuring greater Chinese inclusions and signaling Apple’s belief that the Chinese market could be an extremely lucrative sales channel for them.

As well as iOS, it seems that the Chinese technology loving public also love what Android brings to the table and have shown their enthusiasm for the platform with a huge rise in Android activations in recent times, but attached to those activations are some issues arising from their own implementation of an app marketplace. The lack of an official Google Play Store presence in China has meant that a large number of enterprising developers had to roll their own app stores, resulting in a highly fragmented marketplace experience.

Android shadowlurker

It also seems that those independently created app stores aren’t exactly the most secure in the world with the finding of a new malware strain that has the rather concerning ability to make entirely unauthorized purchases, as well as being able to access bank account details and any cards associated with the account and gather information about any past purchases that have been made using those details. Those things alone paint a very worrying picture, but when you consider that the virus is said to already have infected more than half a million Chinese Android devices, the situation seems almost critical.

The Trojan!SMSZombie was initially discovered almost a month ago by TrustGo who offer a service to totally remove the virus from the infected handset, but who also claim the Trojan has its own built in defensive mechanisms that act as a self-preservation tool. According to the anti-virus company, the new virus generally comes embedded with various wallpaper-type apps and has the ability to install itself on the device when the user accepts a prompt to install additional files, which they believe are associated with the selected wallpaper. The fact that a lot of Chinese consumers use SMS to make a purchase allows the virus to intercept financial details from incoming and outgoing text messages.

If you happen to be a lover of wallpaper-type apps, have accepted the download of some additional files or just feel that you may have been affected by this virus then you can check out TrustGo’s virus detection apps or find out more information on their Trojan!SMSZombie page.

(via TNW)

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