Technolog @ MSNBC
Android phone users should be on guard for new malware that can spread to the phone from mobile websites. Meanwhile, a fresh batch of malicious apps has surfaced in the Google Play store.
“This appears to be the first time that compromised websites have been used to distribute malware targeting Android devices,” said Lookout Security on its website.
The NotCompatible Android trojan first appears as a system update to the mobile user who may have visited a compromised website, the security firm says.
“Like any drive-by downloads, a user needs to install the downloaded application before a device will be infected. Based on our initial investigation, we’ve confirmed that a number of websites have been compromised.”
There’s good news, the firm says: “Affected sites appear to show relatively low traffic and we expect total impact to Android users to be low.”
Meanwhile, a new wave of Android apps with malware have hit Google’s Android market, now called Google Play.
Trend Micro is among the security companies reporting on the malicious apps. One app, in particular, Spy Phone PRO+, “which explicitly describes itself as a spying app has also been flagged as a threat by Trend Micro due to its potential for misuse.”
The app’s “capabilities include tracking a phone’s location, phone calls, and messages,” Trend Micro said on its blog.
Android app security holes have long been a concern because of the mobile operating system’s more open architecture and the app market’s less stringent standards for developers than others such as Apple’s iOS or Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS.
Earlier this year, Google said it was using a service called Bouncer that automatically polices its app market and takes down offenders before they strike.
It may not have worked in the latest examples, with 17 “bad mobile apps,” and 700,000 downloads of those apps, as of May 3, Trend Micro said.
Contacted Friday, Google said in a statement to msnbc.com that it has “removed the apps from Google Play that violate our policies.”