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Android Malware Can Infect Users Through Ad Networks

by On August 13, 2013

android.malware-1Android Malware is back in the news today, and this time it comes courtesy of the folks from the security firm Palo Alto Networks who have found a new flaw via mobile ad networks.

Everyone knows what Malware is, and it can be delivered to your Android device in a number of sneaky ways. The latest is through mobile ad networks – you know all those big ads you’re asked to click on while you’re waiting on a level to load in a game? Those are mostly served up via ad networks. Yes, those ads are beyond annoying, but necessary to ‘some’ developers as a way to bring in income from a game or application. It’s similar to those annoying pop-up ads you’ll get in a web browser, but with one big difference. Mobile ads are served up through a code that’s part of the application which also opens up a backdoor for nasty Android Malware to get into your device.

According to Wade Williamson, a senior security analyst at Palo Alto Networks, “If the mobile ad network turns malicious, a completely benign application could begin bringing down malicious content to the device.” If that happens the hacked Android devices could be used as part of a big Android Botnet. The recently recovered Android Malware from Palo Alto accessed the phones SMS functions which allowed the attackers to receive and send SMS messages on the sly. It’s not the first time Android Malware has been in the news or even mobile ad network shenanigans. Lookout Mobile Security reported finding a rogue ad network, BadNews in April which was hooked in to 32 apps from a few developers.

So now our phones can be used in evil botnets for nefarious purposes thanks to hacked ad networks… should you be shaking in your shoes? Nope, but you should always use common sense when downloading a game or application from a developer or publish you’re not familiar with. Don’t download an application because it “looks good” or has a lot of downloads, and always check the permissions beforehand. That said, people will always be able to find a backdoor through almost anything, but a little common sense can go a long way when you’re dealing with the wild world of Google Play.

Via – Network World

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