A new bit of malware is circulating throughout the Google Play store. This malware, called "BadNews" is hidden away inside of more than 30 different apps. So far, these apps have been downloaded a few million times. A security company by the name of 'Lookout' has discovered the apps, and there might be more of the apps in the Play store.
How The Malware Was Spread
This time around, it's not the fault of app developers. The BadNews app was spread through an ad framework. Developers with good intentions probably just used the wrong ads, and these ads were infected with the malware. Google has made many attempts to crack down on malware within the Play store, but this is a nearly impossible feat when it comes to Android.
What the Malware Does
BadNews is really bad news. When downloaded, this malware will send out fake alerts that asks users to download other infected apps. If those apps are downloaded, one app will secretly sign users up for high priced SMS services without the knowledge of the phone owner. Additionally, your phone number and ID are sent back to the malware base, and this information is recorded.
For some reason, most of the apps on 'Lookout's' warning list are targeted directly at Russian Android users. Google has managed to pull more than 30 apps from the store that contain this bit of malware. But, more apps that are infected might be lurking. One way to find out if an app is infected is to visit the Lookout homepage. Or, simply don't download any apps that seem to be targeted at Russian users.
Android's Ongoing Problem
The problem with Android is that it's really easy for virus spreaders to tap into the system. It's even easier for those with bad intents to spread malware throughout Android, and to send malware infested apps to millions of users. So far, Google has tried to put a stop to all of these problems, but the company can't do much in the end.
Can any OS be malware infected? Sure; but Android is far more susceptible to malware simply because it is not as secure as an OS like iOS. What can you do if you have an Android phone and love Android (and would never switch to iOS)? You can start by keeping up to date on all the latest malware problems. You can also make sure not to download any apps that contain malware.
What You Can Do
But, in this case, it's not the fault of any one particular developer, so it's hard to tell an infected app from a good one. Simply be vigilant, and if you notice that your phone is acting funny, seek help. Right now, it seems that most of the BadNews apps are contained, but a few more might surface soon enough. Be on the lookout, and let me know if you come across any additional Android infected apps. Or, let me know if you have already downloaded one!
*Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net and user " Salvatore Vuono"