Trojan hits Android smartphones

Trojan virus hidden in "harmless" media player application

Cyber security company, Kaspersky Lab, has identified the first virus to hit Google’s Android operating system, adding to the small but growing list of malicious attacks against smartphones.

The Trojan virus, named Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, is distributed through a message sent to users prompting them to install a 13 kilobyte (KB) “harmless” media player application. Once installed, the Trojan virus sends SMS messages to premium rate numbers without notifying the user.

In a security alert sent out by Kaspersky Lab, the security company said it believed the Trojan program was targeted at siphoning money from smartphone user’s mobile accounts and delivering it to cybercriminals.

The Trojan is, according to Kaspersky Lab, the first identified to specifically targeted Android-based smartphones.

Last year, two separate malicious attacks hit the iPhone, with the ”Ikee” and ”Duh” or “Ikee.B” both targeting jailbroken iPhones by using the default secure shell (SSH) password that often went unchanged by users on the phone.

The vulnerability was initially used by Australian teen, Ashley Towns, to spread pictures of 1980s pop star, Rick Astley, but later taken advantage of to upload user banking information to a server in Lithuania.

Kaspersky Lab’s mobile research group manager, Denis Maslennikov, attributed the new Android virus to increasing sales of smartphones running the platform.

“We can expect to see a corresponding rise in the amount of malware targeting that platform,” he said in a statement.

The Trojan requires the user to first agree to install the player.

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