Phone users who download from the third-party Chinese applications market are being warned of the danger of malware after a new Trojan virus specifically designed to attack Android smartphones was discovered by mobile security experts.
The malware – named Geinimi – is thought to be able to duplicate and extract sensitive information whilst being controlled remotely by a number of servers.
While infection levels are confined to those downloading applications and software from China, experts fear that the growth in mobile malware is a sign of things to come.
Mobile antivirus experts, Lookout, described how compromised mobile applications asked for permissions over and above that of legitimate versions and the remote aspect of the Trojan could eventually create an Android botnet.
With greater numbers of people conducting personal, financial and social activities via their smartphones, it is thought that infected mobile applications will become the preferred method of intrusion by those looking to steal personal data.
Mobile security awarenessTalking about the future of mobile security, Lookout encouraged smartphone users to be extra vigilant:
“With the discovery of this new malware, it is more important than ever to pay attention to what you're downloading. Stay alert and ensure that you trust every application you download.
“Be aware that unusual behaviour on your phone could be a sign that your phone is infected. Unusual behaviour can include: unknown applications being installed without your knowledge, SMS messages being automatically sent to unknown recipients, or phone calls automatically being placed without you initiating them.”
Official application stores – such as Apple, Blackberry and Google – aren't currently required to scan applications for security threats.
Subsequently, information and mobile security experts are urging consumers, and particularly businesses who operate a network of employee smartphones, to have handsets and applications regularly scanned to eradicate security problems.