Millions of Android phone users slammed by malicious data theft app

“An app distributed by Google’s Android Market has collected private data from millions of users and forwarded it to servers China, validating Apple’s uniquely strong stance on mobile security in the iPhone App Store,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider. “The exploit, tied to an app that appeared to simply load free custom background wallpapers, was downloaded ‘anywhere from 1.1 million to 4.6 million times. The exact number isn’t known because the Android Market doesn’t offer precise data,'” according to a report by Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat.”

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Dilger reports, “The app ‘collects a user’s browsing history, text messages, your phone’s SIM card number, subscriber identification, and even your voice mail password. It sends the data to a web site, http://www.imnet.us. That site is evidently owned by someone in Shenzhen, China,’ the report noted.

“The data theft was only discovered afterward, through forensics performed by mobile security firm named Lookout which sells virus and malware protection software for Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices,” Dilger reports. “The problem was announced at the Black Hat security conference being held in Las Vegas.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t worry, anti-virus leeches and PC fix-it shops, Google will help you transition your based-on-failure business models to the post-Windows world.

Smart people don’t saddle themselves with wannabes, they go with the real thing, from the real innovator. A copier’s work is by nature derivative and behind the curve. Google’s Android = Microsoft’s Windows (without any meaningful sticker price savings).

Please see also: When Closed Is Better Than Open: Apple vs. Google – Joel West, Seeking Alpha, July 29, 2010

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “breeze” for the heads up.]

41 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why this hasn’t happened SOONER, and WORSE. truly, if the android world is so uncontrolled, why is this sort of disaster taking so long?

    I’m honestly asking. Any ideas?

  2. Man, the FUD is flying.

    On iPhone, a third party analytics package can get the device id and the current location.

    On Android it can get the serial number, imei, browser history, voicemail password, SMS history, etc.

    Sounds pretty comparable to me… Good job “Journalists”.

  3. No Gizmodo article…

    No Mashable article..

    the story does not even show up on Google News > Science/Tech..

    Go figure… either they are cock blocking or I guess Android users don’t matter..

    I still find it funny that millions of Android users were downloading Twilight wallpapers! haha

  4. Collecting data and reporting it can be two different things.

    Computers and software in general “collect data”, that’s one reason we use them.

    Collecting passwords and reporting them, along with the other items mentioned, to some web site in China… seems to me that Android app stands out, and Apple does not have a similar issue (yet). If it did I bet we’d already have had the Android response by now.

    I always shy away from deriding anything about Android that Apple could itself end up guilty of. But I believe so far nobody has shown Apple up this way.

  5. @ Bongo,

    I am Canadian! The CBC is required, by law, to spout socialist bullshit and to have balanced reporting.

    For instance if an article is covering an ‘Asian Gang’ fatal shooting not only can’t they use Chinese, Afghani or Vietnamese in the story but they must mention some random white Canadian atrocity to balance things out.

    iPhone is a victim of this law. If Android gets a virus then iPhone must have one, real or not. Same thing happens with every Windows virus disaster. Macs get malware too is always part of the story.

    Ignore the CBC, 95% of Canadians do. 95% of Canadians can’t be wrong.

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