Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

8/2/2011

Android Virus

Filed under: Geek Work,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:51 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, not a flu that your synthetic humanoid might catch.

Virus writers target operating systems with a large installed user base.  There’s nothing controversial or even particularly interesting about that statement.  It’s a generally accepted concept based on observation, if not actual hard facts.  For a long time, that’s why there were so many viral attacks on Windows.  Windows enjoyed the greatest market penetration, so Windows users had to put up with the most frequent attempts to penetrate their machines.
But, that’s changing as the distribution of operating systems changes.  Android, in various forms and flavors, is now the most installed operating system.  Yeah, that’s right, someone has been writing viruses (virii ?) that attack your Android phone.

I’ve seen two new stories about this today.  One from a Houston local tech celebrity, Dwight Silverman over at the Houston Chronicle, and elsewhere, both talking about a new Android Trojan that can actually record your voice conversations.
One of the things that people like about Android is that it can load software from places other than a restricted, safe, controlled marketplace, but, that’s also one of the liabilities.  Apparently, the malware takes advantage of that ability to load itself onto your phone’s SIM chip and force the phone to record conversations to the chip then, optionally, upload those recordings to a server, presumably controlled by an attacker.  It’s somewhat unclear how that process would be initiated, but the simple fact that it can do it at all is chilling to me.  Also unclear from the articles was whether or not this has been spotted in the wild.
Hopefully, not yet.

So, here’s another warning for you.  Your devices, of any kind, are not safe.  Not ever.  If you have them powered on and they can connect to a network, even if you think they aren’t, you may still be vulnerable.  The Internet, in all its forms, is a wild and wooly and dangerous place.
Be careful out there, people.

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