The ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.C malware is capable of collecting data such as SMS, call logs, GPS location, and can even record telephone conversations on infected Android OS phones; stolen data is uploaded to an unnamed URL through port 2018.
Google my have to eventually rethink the open nature of the Android market as more and more apps contain trojans, viruses, spyware, and other types of malware.
The ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.C malware masks itself as the Google+ app and is capable of collecting data such as SMS, call logs, GPS location, and can even record telephone conversations on infected Android OS phones. The stolen data is then uploaded to an unnamed URL through port 2018.
Even more disturbing is that ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.C is also capable of receiving commands via text messages and can automatically answer incoming telephone calls.
“Before answering the call, it puts the phone on silent mode to prevent the affected user from hearing it,” say the researchers. “It also hides the dial pad and sets the current screen to display the home page. During testing, after the malware answered the phone, the screen went blank.”
So far the app, being that it is cloaked in a fake version of Google+ called “Google++,” and is limited to malicious websites trying to trick users into downloading the app, but it does illustrate the increasing complexity and threat posed by Android malware.
Just a few months ago Google yanked more than 50 Android apps from the Android Market that were found to contain malware capable of similarly stealing sensitive and personal data.
According to ESET’s Cameron Camp, between 500,000 and 1 million Android users were infected with malware during the first six months of this year.
“During Android’s early run-up, users loaded apps by the droves with scarce a thought for security,” he wrote recently on his threat blog. “Now that we see malware authors writing for this audience, vendors will enter a second phase: education.”
Unlike the “simple flip-phones of yesteryear,” he adds, people now have a “computer that happens to make phone calls.”
“These machines pack respectable CPU and storage, run a full operating system, and are all networked. On top of that, they, almost by definition, are filled with the personal information and contacts advertisers and businesses have been lusting after for decades.”
For Android smartphone users concerned about security, the Trend Micro researchers recommend reading their e-book titled “5 Simple Steps to Secure YourAndroid-Based Smartphones.”