Malware is an increasing concern among the Android community, and one that won’t fade away as more and more malicious pieces of mobile software are detected. Lookout Security sounded the alarm over the weekend regarding 26 separate Android applications that could steal identifying information from an infected handset, estimating as many as 120,000 people could have downloaded the rogue apps.
It sounds like the latest batch of applications were updated versions of malware that spread through the Android Market in March, according to Lookout Security’s blog. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has already spiked the applications in question while it tries to figure out what happened, but those who downloaded the applications may have revealed serial numbers that identify their handsets to those who created the malware along with a list of what might be running on their phones.
Unlike Apple’s App Store, where the company vets every single piece of software that is available to install on an iPhone or iPad, the Android Market and other Android app stores are a more free-swinging kind of market, where pretty much anything goes. And given the sharp increase in Android market share over the last year, it’s not a huge surprise that those looking to cause mischief or steal personal information for profit would start to target the OS.
This malware, however, is something that you have to download and install yourself, as opposed to a malicious attack through a security flaw in a browser or operating system. So-called “Trojans” have been around for a long time in both the PC and mobile markets, and Lookout Security advises users to exercise caution in what they download and in where they find applications. A full list of the affected applications can be found on Lookout’s blog here.