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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. LastSonOfKrypton's Avatar
      LastSonOfKrypton -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Joker805 View Post
      whats the name of the app i have a droid n i would like to know to take it off
      Read the article before you post a dumb question
    1. tecpunk64's Avatar
      tecpunk64 -
      man that sucks for android users and @ 01grander- from all the post i read so far,no one was bashing android...
    1. kbcox0327's Avatar
      kbcox0327 -
      Big brother lives in shenzen, china. That's where my i4 was shipped from. Hate it for the droids. Text messages and voice mail password = bend over!
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      wow thats a major security leak i would be pissed
    1. cory's Avatar
      cory -
      I'm not good with code at all, but I know I would pay for little snitch to be ported to the iPhone!
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by 01grander View Post
      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???

      Your comprehension level must be a little on the sensitive side... I have not seen any bashing going on. Especially to use the words like "everyone"... But in the event there is some "bashing" here is a little attempt to answer your Q...

      Because genius, this site is basically APPLE everything...most people on here are here because they own some sort of Apple produced device... Not like engadget or other tech reporting/news sites that report news on all devices. For the droid lovers may I suggest (Droid Forum - Covering all Verizon Droid Phones: Motorola Droid, Droid X, Droid 2, Droid Incredible and Droid Eris)

      Aside from the obvious of this site being umm APPLE news. The Droid is a ok device but...Just ok at best... and Apple did take a beating from them over the past month soooo.... its Apple fan boys turn to poke fun...

      Quote Originally Posted by cory View Post
      i'm not good with code at all, but i know i would pay for little snitch to be ported to the iphone!
      lol
    1. fishbone's Avatar
      fishbone -
      Quote Originally Posted by cory View Post
      I'm not good with code at all, but I know I would pay for little snitch to be ported to the iPhone!

      yeah, little snitch on iPhone would be awesome!

      Unfortunately, I'd e-mailed it's developers a long time ago(before 3GS) about a possible port, and they said it wouldn't represent any technical challenge, but so far there was no sign that it would happen, so I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

      Too bad...
    1. 01grander's Avatar
      01grander -
      I didn't say everyone on the forum but there are tons of iphone users that do bash android. In this thread specifically there was iLoveWindows&iPhone and stlcaddie that made a comment about Android.

      And please attempt to not be a smart....well you know(in response to kuhndsn).
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by 01grander View Post
      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???
      What makes you think that is hasn't already happened?

      Backdoor in top iPhone games stole user data, suit claims ? The Register

      MY what a short memory some of you have! This should be in the OP FFS.
    1. Shishir G's Avatar
      Shishir G -
      OSHIT
      I WAS WONDERING WHY ON MY DROID IT SAID "THIS APP HAS BEEN DELETED BY DEVELOPERS" AND IT DELETED MY APP OH MY GOD
      so all my porn info is gone to some guy in china? no biggie.
    1. Bassface's Avatar
      Bassface -
      Lol nice.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      A smaller percentage of Apple apps are collecting user data, but a smaller percentage of Apple's MASSIVE app catalog still equals a LOT more apps.

      The fact is that there will always be people that will attempt to exploit any app store, as long as there's money involved. Just make sure that the stuff you keep in your phone is not important. Never, EVER use on of those e-wallet apps that stores your credit card numbers or passwords.

      There's also a firewall app you can get in Cydia that will block apps from uploading information back to their servers.
    1. JonnyBoy123's Avatar
      JonnyBoy123 -
      Android users need to just get an iPhone like the rest of the world and quit wasting time with a cheap knock off! Come on Android users! It's in the name! "Jack"eey wallpapers? The iPhone is a lot better then any Android phone out there because Apple rejects apps like this for the safety of their users. I seriously doubt that something like this would ever happen to thousands of iPhone users. That security breach on the iPad 3G doesn't count because it was AT&T's fault due to a network error which Apple had nothing to do with. Android needs to hurry up and die out already.
    1. rocky5's Avatar
      rocky5 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBoy123 View Post
      Android users need to just get an iPhone like the rest of the world and quit wasting time with a cheap knock off! Come on Android users! It's in the name! "Jack"eey wallpapers? The iPhone is a lot better then any Android phone out there because Apple rejects apps like this for the safety of their users. I seriously doubt that something like this would ever happen to thousands of iPhone users. That security breach on the iPad 3G doesn't count because it was AT&T's fault due to a network error which Apple had nothing to do with. Android needs to hurry up and die out already.
      My, my, my you need to open yours eyes I for one are leaving the iPhone behind because am fed up with Apples I control what you do and what you use atitude.

      There is so much that Apple can learn from other platform, for one widgets for toggling data, wifi and other features would be amazing but Apple nup we want to to take the long way round.

      No matter what I say or any other person you will always get the tits that think the sun shines put of Apples *** and there devices are all singing all dancing master pieces.

      I have been playing with the HTC Desire and all I can say is I'm buying one, now I have been part of this Apple madness for over 3 years since the first ipot but no more I have seen the light and am bloody running at it.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by Capt.D View Post
      And if you think the iPhone is any different your ship will be here in a few minutes to take you for a ride......
      The iPhone is very different to android. Unless you have proof to the contrary? Considering android appstore doesn't vet the apps submitted or even have a code signing opens the device to anything, just like this story states. You may not like apples anal hold on their stuff but it has it's pluses under these situations. In all the time I've had my iphone, I've not read one case of malicious hacking of a stock standard iphone, only those of people who've hacked it and had open ssh installed and stupidly left their root password unchanged. 3 years on and the iphone is still the safest. That's why US government departments went across.
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      Quote Originally Posted by 01grander View Post
      I didn't say everyone on the forum but there are tons of iphone users that do bash android. In this thread specifically there was iLoveWindows&iPhone and stlcaddie that made a comment about Android.

      And please attempt to not be a smart....well you know(in response to kuhndsn).
      Bash bash bash!! I'm just jokin man. A three word response isn't really bashing in my opinion. Go android!! Live long and prosper!! Better??...
    1. BitTitan's Avatar
      BitTitan -
      Um...iPhone has been comprised in a similiar manner. Though I have not heard of case where the intent was malicious, just possible or poor programming.

      The two cases that I know about revolve around Aurora Feint and PhoneSpy. Of course there was the tethering app which did things it was not "suppose" to, but different because it didn't steal information.
    1. Shishir G's Avatar
      Shishir G -
      Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBoy123 View Post
      Android users need to just get an iPhone like the rest of the world and quit wasting time with a cheap knock off! Come on Android users! It's in the name! "Jack"eey wallpapers? The iPhone is a lot better then any Android phone out there because Apple rejects apps like this for the safety of their users. I seriously doubt that something like this would ever happen to thousands of iPhone users. That security breach on the iPad 3G doesn't count because it was AT&T's fault due to a network error which Apple had nothing to do with. Android needs to hurry up and die out already.
      I can say that right back at you. The security breach is Apple's fault. It's their device, they need to manage it along with ATT helping them. Android won't be dying anytime soon. Infact more users are switching from iPhone to Android just because Android doesn't reject EVERY ******* THING THAT COMES TO THEM. Such as Flash, Android supports it, why doesn't Apple? Apple wants to create their own damn world where they own everything. Android i think is a open source. Just because there was 1 flaw that Android let out doesn't mean its the worst phone ever. I can easily name some major problems iPhone's had. Androids haven't been out for a lot, but their still rising up and i suspect they may be higher than Apple one day since Apple refuses everything.

      Why do you think JB is legal now? Apple is being too over protective.
    1. JonnyBoy123's Avatar
      JonnyBoy123 -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocky5 View Post
      My, my, my you need to open yours eyes I for one are leaving the iPhone behind because am fed up with Apples I control what you do and what you use atitude.

      There is so much that Apple can learn from other platform, for one widgets for toggling data, wifi and other features would be amazing but Apple nup we want to to take the long way round.

      No matter what I say or any other person you will always get the tits that think the sun shines put of Apples *** and there devices are all singing all dancing master pieces.

      I have been playing with the HTC Desire and all I can say is I'm buying one, now I have been part of this Apple madness for over 3 years since the first ipot but no more I have seen the light and am bloody running at it.
      ok first of all I completely lost you at the end of that stupid comment. U gotta work on your English bro. and second of all, if your that tired of the tight control on the iPhone, jailbreak it! It's legal now go ahead! All that crap u were attempting to name like toggles and stuff is all in Cydia, and Rock! They even got tons of dictionarys for your English there too!

      Quote Originally Posted by Shishir G View Post
      I can say that right back at you. The security breach is Apple's fault. It's their device, they need to manage it along with ATT helping them. Android won't be dying anytime soon. Infact more users are switching from iPhone to Android just because Android doesn't reject EVERY ******* THING THAT COMES TO THEM. Such as Flash, Android supports it, why doesn't Apple? Apple wants to create their own damn world where they own everything. Android i think is a open source. Just because there was 1 flaw that Android let out doesn't mean its the worst phone ever. I can easily name some major problems iPhone's had. Androids haven't been out for a lot, but their still rising up and i suspect they may be higher than Apple one day since Apple refuses everything.

      Why do you think JB is legal now? Apple is being too over protective.
      Do you blame them for being over protective? Look what happend to ur precious droid! U think apple wants crap apps that are stealing personal info from people who like their iPhones? NO! That is why certain apps are rejected! Things happen for a reason man not because Apple doesn't like the app! When an app is submitted to the app store, it may take a week or so for the app to be approved or rejected because they have people who are testing these apps and running checks to see if the app will harm iPhone users in anyway. If it does, the app is rejected. And again it is not Apples fault with the iPad 3G. It is AT&T's fault because they screwed up on their 3G network for iPad users and some hacker started screwing around with the exposed data which led AT&T to find this mistake. As much as I love the iPhone I hate AT&T which is why I am jailbroken and unlocked!
    1. Shishir G's Avatar
      Shishir G -
      Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBoy123 View Post
      ok first of all I completely lost you at the end of that stupid comment. U gotta work on your English bro. and second of all, if your that tired of the tight control on the iPhone, jailbreak it! It's legal now go ahead! All that crap u were attempting to name like toggles and stuff is all in Cydia, and Rock! They even got tons of dictionarys for your English there too!



      Do you blame them for being over protective? Look what happend to ur precious droid! U think apple wants crap apps that are stealing personal info from people who like their iPhones? NO! That is why certain apps are rejected! Things happen for a reason man not because Apple doesn't like the app! When an app is submitted to the app store, it may take a week or so for the app to be approved or rejected because they have people who are testing these apps and running checks to see if the app will harm iPhone users in anyway. If it does, the app is rejected. And again it is not Apples fault with the iPad 3G. It is AT&T's fault because they screwed up on their 3G network for iPad users and some hacker started screwing around with the exposed data which led AT&T to find this mistake. As much as I love the iPhone I hate AT&T which is why I am jailbroken and unlocked!
      What your saying is being protective, Apple is being OVER protective because it denys the apps that other major companies are trying to release to make the iPhone even better, such as the Google chrome for mobile. It uses different hardware which runs faster than Apple's Safari so what do they do? They reject their app because their afraid google will beat them on Safari, which they obviously will.
      Apple rejects any app that just seems suspicious, a year ago i read about a app that was called "Hacking the phone" Which was a strategy game they rejected it because it sounded like the app was gonna hack their iphone. They later accepted it. They don't actually look at each app and see if it works, has bugs, viruses etc. That would take about 8 years for a app to get approved because Apple gets many app applications, They just have a computer that checks the files of the apps checks of there are viruses, any traces of malware etc. If not approved, if there is rejected. How do you think the tethering app got in? It was hidden, if they tested each and every app separately, it would take about 80 thousand employees just to test apps.
      I do have both Droid and iPhone 4, I use my droid alot because it has more features, and obviously has gone further than an iPhone where apple is just beginning such as the background wallpapers... Where other smartphone's have had those from beginning.
      Apple can be protective, every company is, but Apple goes beyond that.