Android malware disguised as games

Malware for Android-powered devices was discovered in the Google Play application store.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye – or personal information from a smartphone.

New malware for Android-powered devices has been discovered in the Google Play application store, after having gone unnoticed for about two weeks. The reason it took so long to find was that the Trojan Horse virus was posing as games like Grand Theft Auto 3 Moscow City and Super Mario Brothers, according to Forbes.

Security experts said the malware should only affect Russian users, but the apps in question were downloaded by up to 100,00 people, Forbes reported.

The malware was able to escape detection for two weeks because only small parts of it were hidden within each affected app. According to CNET, what happened here is that one small part of the program was able to avoid detection. Once in Google Play, it communicated with modules located elsewhere. Once a phone is infected, the virus has the device send out SMS messages, according to Forbes.

“It’s clear that while Google has made progress in securing the Google Play repository, more work is needed if malware can reside there unnoticed for over two weeks,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes wrote in Forbes.

This is not the first time Google’s Android security features have been suspect. In June, two security experts were able to demonstrate malware that avoided detection but still negatively affected mobile devices, CNET reported.

Malware targeting Android devices has been on the rise. According to recent research, the number of new malware specifically targeting Android has increased by more than 300 percent during the first six months of this year. In addition, the report showed that six of the top 10 malware threats were Trojan Horse infections like the one targeting Google Play.

Does news like this make you more cautious about using mobile devices? What layered security measures do you use on smartphones and tablets?

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.