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  • Android Security Issue Naively Puts Apple in Positive Light



    Last night, VentureBeat reported on the findings from mobile security firm Lookout that a suspicious Android mobile wallpaper app, which has been downloaded in excess of one millions times, has been found to collect and ship personal data off to a "mysterious site in China." As a result, there's a mood growing within the blogosphere of Apple fans that this sort of thing would be far less common in the Apple-family of iDevices and suggests further that the recent concerns about iPhone and iPad security glitches were vastly overblown.

    Not so fast.

    As highlighted by Lookout Chief Executive Officer John Hering and Chief Technology Officer Kevin MaHaffey, no smartphone, mobile platform or operating system is immune to the growing security threats in the world of smartphones. "That means that apps that seem good but are really stealing your personal information are a big risk at a time when mobile apps are exploding on smartphones," said Hering at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday. “Even good apps can be modified to turn bad after a lot of people download it,” MaHaffey added. “Users absolutely have to pay attention to what they download. And developers have to be responsible about the data that they collect and how they use it.”

    The app that caused all the trouble originated from "Jackeey Wallpaper," which was uploaded to the Android market for the ostensible purpose of enabling users to pretty-up their phones running the Google Android operating system. And it's not some cheesy app either. According to the VentureBeat report, the app delivered branded wallpapers from the likes of "My Little Pony" and "Star Wars." But the Lookout report found that this particular app "collects a user’s browsing history, text messages, your phone’s SIM card number, subscriber identification, and even your voice mail password. It sends the data to a web site that... is evidently owned by someone in Shenzhen, China."

    While even the staunchest Apple fans and critics should not wish for these security threats to manifest on any mobile platform, there is a sigh of relief (perhaps naively so) in the Apple community as a result of these findings, which hold that nearly half of all the Android apps analyzed used third party code, while less than one quarter of the studied iPhone apps did the same.

    Hering said in a press conference afterward that he believes both Google and Apple are on top of policing their app stores, particularly when there are known malware problems with apps. But it’s unclear what happens when apps behave as the wallpaper apps do, where it’s not clear why they are doing what they are doing.
    Lookout logged data from better than 100,000 free Android and iPhone apps for this particular project, one that aims to "analyze how apps behave."

    VentureBeat
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Android Security Issue Naively Puts Apple in Positive Light started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 56 Comments
    1. tremerone's Avatar
      tremerone -
      What is it with you and this "not so fast" crap!?!?
    1. eg6motion's Avatar
      eg6motion -
      open-source can have it's price. But that' is a scary amount of data being collected. Since Android is so open, it would be nice to have some sort of firewall type setting in the phone that monitors any traffic being sent out or in from the device.
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      Die android die!!
    1. stlcaddie's Avatar
      stlcaddie -
      ^ - With no funeral
    1. xwinger's Avatar
      xwinger -
      That sucks for 1 million android users.
    1. santacruzlocal's Avatar
      santacruzlocal -
      My buddies Android makes a great paper weight!!
    1. virtualcappy's Avatar
      virtualcappy -
      Yea, you know i really don't understand why everyone suggests that it's LESS safe to jb. How long before someone finds a way to get root access to an iPhone or an android phone with an app like this. I feel much more comfortable knowing I don't have alpine as my root password anymore.
    1. macsoldier's Avatar
      macsoldier -
      Droid=brick
    1. ZeroShift's Avatar
      ZeroShift -
      People should be more aware of the installation warning screen for installing Apps.
    1. rocky5's Avatar
      rocky5 -
      The problem here is every app on Android Marketplace tells you in Red/Orange text before you agree to install the app what information it will use or take so in the end its up to the user to say yes please.

      so if you want a wallpaper app that accesses your phone book and browser then say yes, but i for one wouldn't.

      Android has security its the best security in the world it's called human choice, each app will tell you want it will do, so in the end its up to he user.
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by tremerone View Post
      What is it with you and this "not so fast" crap!?!?
      It's easy... Messany = Spin Zone.

      Lol

      Quote Originally Posted by rocky5 View Post
      The problem here is every app on Android Marketplace tells you in Red/Orange text before you agree to install the app what information it will use or take so in the end its up to the user to say yes please.

      so if you want a wallpaper app that accesses your phone book and browser then say yes, but i for one wouldn't.

      Android has security its the best security in the world it's called human choice, each app will tell you want it will do, so in the end its up to he user.
      Meh

      Just let an Apple fan say that. Boy would the posts fly in about how Steve is an evil mole that secretly works for the CIA. Funny how these news posts turn out.
    1. Capt.D's Avatar
      Capt.D -
      And if you think the iPhone is any different your ship will be here in a few minutes to take you for a ride......
    1. LastSonOfKrypton's Avatar
      LastSonOfKrypton -
      Wow! I feel bad for all those Android users but at the same time I'm happy for sticking with iOS.
    1. sh33436's Avatar
      sh33436 -
      the only thing i have to haha that what they get for bashing the iphone4
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      Quote Originally Posted by eg6motion View Post
      open-source can have it's price. But that' is a scary amount of data being collected. Since Android is so open, it would be nice to have some sort of firewall type setting in the phone that monitors any traffic being sent out or in from the device.
      That's what I'm thinking
    1. zakspop's Avatar
      zakspop -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocky5 View Post
      The problem here is every app on Android Marketplace tells you in Red/Orange text before you agree to install the app what information it will use or take so in the end its up to the user to say yes please.

      so if you want a wallpaper app that accesses your phone book and browser then say yes, but i for one wouldn't.

      Android has security its the best security in the world it's called human choice, each app will tell you want it will do, so in the end its up to he user.
      Oh, I'm sure that app said "May I please send your address book, VM password to China. I promise not to use it in any harmful way." PLEASE!! That is plain STUPID...
    1. cranie's Avatar
      cranie -
      I'm not a big fan of the Android but anytime anything like this happens those of us on the "everyday user" side of the fence lose.
    1. The Joker805's Avatar
      The Joker805 -
      whats the name of the app i have a droid n i would like to know to take it off
    1. Halten77's Avatar
      Halten77 -
      What's up with android?! They're losing it!






    1. 01grander's Avatar
      01grander -
      Why is everyone bashing android? It's like being a overprotective parent....you can keep your kid away from certain things but something bad will happen eventually no matter how careful you are.

      ALSO, the last time I checked a developer snuck a tethering feature into an app on the app store.....what makes you think that the same isn't going to happen on ios with something malicious or info stealing???