The malware scene on Android is not a pretty sight. While the Android Market itself is loaded with a truckload of apps, it resembles a value proposition of a Chinese flea market. Most of the 400,000 apps are not of high quality and many are riddled with malware. This point of view was further accentuated by Symantec, maker of anti-virus software Norton, as it claims that a new malware called Android.Counterclank can receive commands and steal information from Android handsets. Symantec’s report claims that the malware has been packaged in 13 different apps including games like Counter Strike Force. While Symantec itself claims the malware could be affecting between 1 million and 5 million devices, there have been differing view points on the issue in the blogosphere. Also Read - Apple CEO Tim Cook claims iOS is more secure than Android
Computerworld concurs with Symantec’s view point in its story – giving a very scary overview of the whole situation. On the flip side, popular Android blog, Android Central, is taking a more measured approach towards the report. They quote another Android security analysis firm, Lookout, in their story. They point out that the 13 affected apps are not malware but contain an aggressive advertising component. Pointing out ChoopCheec and Plankton advertising SDKs, the report claims these apps have the tendency to identify the user’s IMEI number, push notifications for ads, push bookmarks to the browser and drop search icons on the desktop. While these are aggressive advertising techniques, they cannot be classified as malware, claims the report. What Android Central calls aggressive, we believe these are all traits of malware, even though it might not have any intentions to harm the user. Also Read - Apple Music Lossless, Spatial Audio features with Dolby Atmos coming soon to India
While we have not analyzed any of these apps, Google does not scrub apps as Apple does before they are made available to consumers, making them potential targets for malware attacks. In our opinion its better to play safe, five million or one million effected users don’t matter, the safety of one’s data does! Till the time one gets concrete details about these apps, one would do well to stay clear from these apps. At the end of the day the old adage better safe than sorry really works. Check out the source link below for the list of apps affected with Counterclank.