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Android trojan collects personal data

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#1 Terryala


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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:05 PM

Android trojan collects personal data

In China, a trojan has popped up that uses escalated rights to read out information such as the address book in Android cell phones, and sends the information via the internet to remote servers. As the Lookout blog reports, the contaminant called Geinimi is the most refined method of collecting personal data yet, as it not only acts independently, but can also be remotely controlled by a server. Geinimi hides itself by encrypting the data it needs to run and by using an obfuscator for Java byte code.

In addition to the address book, the trojan can also read out the cell phone's position data, device ID (IMEI), SIM card number (IMSI), and a list of the installed apps. It is not yet clear what the developers of Geinimi are ultimately trying to do.

Geinimi comes as an add-on for common apps, most of them games sold in third-party app catalogues. According to the Lookout blog, the following applications are affected: Monkey Jump 2, -- The nicest hobby on Earth ;) -- Positions, President vs. Aliens, City Defense and Baseball Superstars 2010. The similarly named apps from the official Android Market are reportedly not infected. If you get your apps from obscure sources, you will want to be careful not to give them unlimited rights, which the apps request upon installation; instead contact the vendor to see what rights are actually needed.


#2 Terryala


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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:07 PM

Android mobile malware has botnet-like traits

By Jeremy Kirk
December 29, 2010 07:10 PM ET

IDG News Service - Hackers are aiming for users of Google's Android mobile operating system with a malicious application that harvests personal information and sends it to a remote server.

The malware, which has been named "Geinimi," appears to be the first one that has botnet-like capabilities targeted at the Android platform, said Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer for Lookout Mobile Security, which develops mobile security software.

Geinimi appears to target Chinese-speaking users of Android, and Lookout was tipped off to Geinimi after a user wrote a post concerned about it on a forum, Mahaffey said.

Lookout researchers, which posted a writeup on Geinimi, have found that it has been wrapped into legitimate free and paid games for Android users with those games' developers unaware their applications are being used as a lure.

"We have been in touch with developers to let them know," Mahaffey said.

Those tampered applications are appearing on third-party web sites offering Android applications that have not been vetted for security. Some of those programs have appeared to be downloaded thousands of times.

The company is still analyzing Geinimi, and it isn't clear what its creators are aiming to do with a victim's phone. But several aspects of the malware have already raised concern.

The malware communicates with a central command-and-control server. The server can issue commands to a phone remotely, such as to download or uninstall software. The user of the Android phone is prompted and must approve either action, but it still raises concern, Mahaffey said.

"It might be a vector to install other potentially malicious applications," he said.

Geinimi also sends the Android device's location and other hardware identifiers, such as the device's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and SIM card information, to a remote server every five minutes. It can also send a list of the Android device's installed applications. The malware can contact up to 10 domain names that are used to upload the information to the remote server.

It is Geinimi's ability to contact multiple domains and obtain instructions from a command-and-control server that Lookout decided to say it has botnet-like capabilities, Mahaffey said.

Still, Geinimi has not revealed either a clear profit motive or decisive data-theft motivation, although Lookout is continuing its analysis. "It could be anything from a very invasive advertising network up to a full-blown attempt to create a botnet," Mahaffey said.