Tech researchers find smartphone Mal-adjusting

July 14, 2011
By Chris Saunders

self2You want the coolest new game for your Android? The hottest new application on the market? Tempting as they may be, the next time you download those applications to your smartphone, you may be giving total control of the device to a third party, researchers say.

Xuxian Jiang, assistant professor in NC State’s computer science department, has spent his summer releasing findings that suggest there is considerable malware – software intended to cause harm to a device – in online application stores. Read more on his findings in Computerworld.

Jiang’s previous research consisted of his team setting up a computer to be easily compromised. Then the researchers would monitor the machines being overrun by malware, spyware and Trojan horses.

But he’s recently turned to smartphone research, which has yielded many alerts to Android users. Jiang’s team discovered Android malware called “DruidKungFu.” It comes from four Android apps, which include two games. Once downloaded, it accesses your phone’s data, makes phone calls and sends texts. And it blocks messages from users’ providers about what they’ve sent, keeping theconsumers in the dark until they receive their bill.

“This is the most serious,” Jiang says. “It can completely take over your phone.”

Application companies like Google are reacting responsibly by acknowledging the alerts, Jiang adds. “They are happy about my work.”

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