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Another trojan horse for devices running Google’s Android mobile operating system — this one capable of stealing information and uploading it to remote servers — has been spotted on third-party Android application marketplaces.
The Geinimi trojan horse gets onto your device via games and other applications that users download off third-party application marketplaces outside of the official Android Marketplace. Applications that are corrupted by Geinimi ask Android users to verify a much larger set of permissions than the application is supposed to verify, and then send that information off to remote servers.
While Geinimi hasn’t made a malicious move yet, mobile cyber security firm Lookout suspects it is building a botnet — an army of devices that can be controlled remotely — like trojan horses and other types of malware do with typical computers.
Malware on mobile devices is still a new trend. But it’s a little disconcerting to see another sophisticated trojan horse come out on Google’s Android operating system just a few months after one made a splash on Russian Android phones by forcing phones to send premium text messages.
Lookout is warning Android users to stick to well-known and well-rated applications on the Android Marketplace. The Android operating system is particularly vulnerable to attack, since just about anyone can upload apps bearing malware to the Android Market. Those apps often trick users into giving them permission to do something to the user’s phone.
Cyber criminals are targeting smartphones because they aren’t as well protected as computers with anti-malware software, said Bradley Anstis, vice president of technology for M86 Security, a security technology company in Orange, Calif. Other mobile devices are also becoming increasingly ubiquitous — mobile tablet computers are expected to be a big hit and bring in $24.9 billion in revenue next year.
Google’s Android mobile operating system isn’t the only one at risk, either. The Zeus virus was released on Nokia phones running the Symbian operating system recently. It was able to compromise online-banking apps that use text messages to verify mobile transactions.