Google fixes infected Android smartphones with security update

7 March 2011 by
The Android Market was infected by malicious application last week. But Google quickly suspended the developer account and removed the apps from the Market. Now a removal tool is available for those infected

The Android Market experienced a security breach last week when a developer offered 58 applications for free which where infected by a rootkit that could grant hackers access to the infected devices.

According to TechCrunch, Google has confirmed that 260.000 devices had downloaded the apps in question. The infected apps took advantage of known vulnerabilites which could affect Android versions 2.2.1 and lower. Mobile phones running Android version 2.2.2 and up is not affected. The information gathered by the apps where IMEI/IMSI codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on the device.

Android Market applications hacked - security update

The steps taken by Google regarding this security issues are

  • Removed the 58 apps from Android Market, suspended the developer account
  • Google has the power to remotely remove installed applications from Android phones. They have done it before and once again the remote application removal feature was run to clean up affected devices.
  • An Android Market Security update are pushed out to infected devices which undoes the exploits to prevent the attacker from accessing any more information from the devices. Users affected are not requred to take any steps for this to happen.
  • Google is taking several measures to help prevent additional mailcious apps using similar exploits from being distributed through Android Market in the future.

All those infected by one of these malicious applications will receive an email from Google explaining what happened and what they should do.

Sources: TechCrunch, Google Mobile Blog

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