News  Android

Messaging trojan discovered

The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center in China is alerting users of a new Android virus discovered called Android/SmsSpy.ccr. The state news agency, Xinhuanet, is warning that it can create its own variants in a short time and so spreads quickly to other vulnerable handsets. The virus also blocks messages by giving infected devices the Android permissions required to receive, read and send SMS messages to any contact in the devices contact list.

The virus hides itself after infection by removing its icon from the launcher. It also "activates controls to prevent uninstallation", although what these are exactly is not specified.

VERC is advising concerned users not to open text messages from unknown senders. No word yet from the anti-virus providers on how serious this really is, but the usual advice regarding only installing software from trusted sources applies.

News  General
Qualcomm Antivrus in CPU

New Snapdragon CPU defends against malware

Qualcomm moved the anti-virus arms race into a different league when they recently announced they are building malware defenses right in the CPU.

The new technology is termed "Smart Protect" and is claimed to be able to utilize real-time machine learning to detect new malicious apps before their signatures have been incorporated into traditional AV software providers systems. Rather than relying on the usual lookup processes, the new system uses machine learning-based behavioral analysis.

News  Android

Author worked at security company

The author of the Dendroid malware creation system has been caught and will be sentenced on December 2nd - he faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. According to his Linked In profile, he spent 4 months at FireEye working on improving Android malware detection tools.

Dendroid wasn't just a regular virus but formed an SDK - a set of tools which allowed other virus authors to develop them. A student of Carnegie Mellon University, the author Morgan Culbertson, 20, provided a system which let authors access the phones camera, downloaded audio and video and could record phone calls.

News  General
Phonesoap charger

Mobile phones can have "18 times more harmful bacteria" than a public restroom

When people hear the term "Smartphone Virus" they immediately think of the kind of things we here at, err, constantly worry about - malware, phishing, denial of-service attacks and such aimed at your mobile. However, it should never be forgotton that the computer/mobile industry hijacked the "virus" term from something that existed a long, long time before then. I'm talking about physical viruses - the kind which spread as germs from contact between contaminated surfaces.

By a strange co-incidence, of course that includes something we touch the most throughout the day - the mobile phone itself. Yes, it certainly can spread real viruses and, as the creator of a new device designed to combat this points out, "one in 6 phones contain fecal matter."