“Cyber criminals have distributed malware to hundreds of thousands of Android users by successfully hiding it inside a series of apparently harmless apps,” Danny Palmer reports for ZDNet. “The malware sneaked onto the Google Play store disguised as seven different apps – six QR readers and one ‘smart compass’ – and bypassed security checks by hiding their true intent with a combination of clever coding and delaying the initial burst of malicious activity.”

“Following installation, the malware waits for six hours before it begins work on its true purpose – serving up adware, flooding the user with full screen adverts, opening adverts on webpages and sending various notifications containing ad related links,” Palmer reports. “All of this activity is designed with the intent of generating click-based revenue for the attackers – even if the app itself isn’t actively running.”

“Uncovered by by researchers at SophosLabs, the malware dubbed Andr/HiddnAd-AJ, is thought to have infected at least a million users – and potentially many more – as one of the malicious apps was downloaded 500,000 times before being pulled by Google,” Palmer reports. “Nonetheless, despite Google’s failure to spot the malicious nature of these apps, Sophos recommends Android users stick to downloading apps from the Play Store – because it’s still safer than third-party Android app stores.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When you’ve settled for a poor imitation, you reap what you’ve sown.

Ah, the price of a pretend iPhone that’s “open” in all the wrong ways. — MacDailyNews, August 2, 2011

If you stumbled here from Google with your dog-slow Android POS: Get a real iPhone.

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