Many of the offending apps were designed to mimic popular downloads for the Android, coming with names like “Chess” and “Super Guitar Solo.” But they also came with hidden baggage — a destructive program known as a Trojan Horse.
“They’re designed to collect phone numbers and e-mail addresses stored on your phone. In some cases, they can even monitor your phone calls and listen in on them.”
Steve Adams is manager for the technology division at Houston’s Agama Advertising and a professional app developer. He says the Android is particularly vulnerable to this type of attack.
“Apple and Blackberry both have screening processes that the applications go through, and a lot of that stuff gets caught before it ever gets published to the market. The Android platform, because it’s so easy to publish apps for, is the logical first target for this type of thing.”
Bloggers with the web site Android Police alerted Google to the presence of the tainted apps in the search firm’s Android Market. It’s estimated users downloaded at least 50,000 copies of the programs before Google removed them.