Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

Summary: Does the convenience of the new Android Market which, once again, makes iTunes look downright archaic, make Android devices too vulnerable?

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TOPICS: Security, Malware
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The biggest news at Google's Honeycomb event last week was not the Honeycomb UI, but rather the updated Android Market. The Market is now web-based, making it utterly convenient to install applications across all of your Android devices, either from a PC or from any of the devices. Sophos Security (and AppleInsider, with undisguised glee) says that, in fact, it's a little too convenient.

The idea is that with iOS devices you either need to be accessing iTunes from your device or from the iTunes application linked to a particular device to install apps. With the new Android Market, though, all you need is a web browser and to be logged into your Google account. And AppleInsider puts it,

Unlike Apple's iTunes Preview website, which allows users to browse for apps on the web but then directs them to iTunes to securely complete their purchase, Google's new web-based Android Market allows users to select and buy apps directly on the web site and then have the apps remotely installed on their device, something that is touted as a unique feature. [But...]

What if somebody else installs an app on your account?

If someone were able to compromise your Google account (say, through a phishing scheme or brute force attack, then they could not only potentially register a new device with your account and buy countless copies of Fruit Ninja, but could also have rogue software automatically installed on your device without your consent.

The solution is to use a strong password on your Google account. Most of us, however, who are vested in the Google ecosystem, should have a mighty strong password anyway. I know, I know, most people don't, but given that the reach of Google into our personal and professional lives tends to be quite substantial, there's no excuse for "12345" or "password" or "googleisawesome."

Jason Perlow recommends biometrics and he's probably right. However (and this has always been the rub with the company), Google makes things so darned convenient and easy, that most of us are willing to give up some privacy, security, or other bit of our Internet soul in exchange for that one web service to rule them all.

Imagine, even, what the enterprise applications of Google's approach to app deployment could be. Acme Widgets buys 200 Android tablets for its sales staff. It also buys 500 Android phones for the rest of the organization. Every phone gets project management and expense accounting apps while tablets get Docs to Go as well. While we're not quite there from the enterprise perspective, the latest incarnation of the Android Market sets the stage for web-based remote software installs at scale. Have you tried deploying apps to hundreds of iPads?

And what the heck does Angry Birds have to do with any of this? Well, Rovio Software, maker of the wildly popular game, has announced new features that allow Angry Birds to be installed across a wider variety of Android devices. Ultimately, the company hopes that even the lowly Android 1.6 users will be able to play Angry birds. Or that Angry Birds will work on Google TV. Or that it will leverage the best features in Android 3.0. Rovio is at the forefront of making the Android platform fragmentation problem a non-issue, paving the way for the sort of mass deployments described above across heterogeneous devices.

Sure, Google's new web-based market has the potential for users to be stupid and for bad people to do bad things. It also has the potential for households to manage all of their app installations easily and economically and for enterprises to truly be able to manage Android deployments in really compelling ways. Change your passwords, folks. It will be worth the 30 seconds to be able to make use of the unique functionality of Android and its app model.

Topics: Security, Malware

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

    well, in order for this to happen the developer would have to put his app int he android market. It's not like they can just install anything they just found on the web. Just as easy it is to install on the device, it is as easy to remotely wipe it off. And google has that capability.
    tatiGmail
    • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

      Well whats the big deal? If somebody stole your Google Account before they could buy lots of things on Google Shop. Its the same way for any other account.
      Lennatron
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Lennatron This is all so hypothetically moronic, I can't believe anyone would even consider listening to the FUD from the competitor's site anyway. Apple has gone from just using their RDF (Reality Distortion Field) on themselves to spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt tactics of Microsoft!<br><br>First of all you're right, they'd have to steal your account and there have been far more iTunes accounts broken into than Gmail and Android accounts combined. In fact lots of Apple users do in fact use Gmail. With Android they haven't had an AT&T account melt down like Apple did on iPhone4 launch. As well as developers ripping off other devs apps and still being allowed to sell them on Apple's App Market. How about 4th of July last year, where they had bogus devs and apps buying apps on iTunes to the tune of $1000's of dollars???<br><br>But regardless.... no one could ever arbitrarily have any app installed on your device, because they are all uniquely identified and it is a controlled secure process on all Cell phone devices!<br><br>I mean look at Chris Dawson's profile pic? Do any of you honestly believe anything that comes out of this moronic fool's mouth or keyboard? If you do, I've got some AAPL RDF stock shares to sell you all! ^_*
        i2fun@...
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @i2fun:::dude....what are you talking? once you get a login id and pwd of a user, you can install what ever you like on that user's phone....That mechanism is extremely great and useful for many people but wrongly implemented. Also, why are you pulling apple into this? They did not write any comment on this stuff. A blogger wrote an article and it was just referenced here....Related to ATT meltdown, Android never sold so many phones on the same day...Look at Verizon 's iPhone launch. Their portal suffered a bit during the last week.......So STFU....and regarding Chris Dawson's profile... and your comments on it...It shows what you are...
        pradhanavs@...
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @pradhanavs ahaha.... no doubt you bleed 6 colors loyalty just like all the rest of you iCrAppleholic morons!<br><br>What about Android not selling so many phones in one day? You STFU..... CrApple uses their paid bloggers, their bull market share holding cronies and Steve's RDF generation to skew the facts. By including puny little iPod Nanos w/o iOS to skew their supposed high numbers. Never admitting only phones and some iPad's can be really activated. Why do you think Android as an OS is now actually selling more Smartphones than what's on any other manufacturer? Even Nokia and Apple's iPhones have become just a niche player. That's the truth you idiots can't face!<br><br>Let me put it this way fool...... I don't see Apple offering $20,000 to hack iOS or Safari Browser at PWN2OWN, like Google is doing with Chrome Browser and Android!<br><br>Security? WTF.... why don't you search for iTunes store hacked news and compare it to anything you can find on Android or Gmail. Tell me when you're done making an arse out of you and your smiley slick dick faced friend Chris Dawson!
        i2fun@...
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @i2fun I'm guessing you had my reply deleted... what, did I hurt your feelings? I'm still wondering why you always have to be a total d1ckhead ever single time...

        [b]no doubt you bleed 6 colors loyalty just like all the rest of you iCrAppleholic morons![/b] Right here is where you lose credibility... seriously try to sell me on Android without all the middle school level insults... if you can. [b]

        What about Android not selling so many phones in one day? You STFU..... CrApple uses their paid bloggers, their bull market share holding cronies and Steve's RDF generation to skew the facts. By including puny little iPod Nanos w/o iOS to skew their supposed high numbers. Never admitting only phones and some iPad's can be really activated. Why do you think Android as an OS is now actually selling more Smartphones than what's on any other manufacturer? Even Nokia and Apple's iPhones have become just a niche player. That's the truth you idiots can't face![/b]

        The truth YOU cannot face is that a 6 month old iOS device sold MORE units in one day - was in fact the most successful first day of sales in VZW history - than any of the Android offerings that are far newer. Sucks to be you, right? And yeah we can count the iPod Nano... it runs iOS, right so it is an iOS device although it does not have to be counted... after all VZW did NOT presell any Nanos... Oh and if Apple IS a niche player, they are a heck of a niche player... just how much profit did they bring in this past quarter? [b]

        Let me put it this way fool...... I don't see Apple offering $20,000 to hack iOS or Safari Browser at PWN2OWN, like Google is doing with Chrome Browser and Android![/b]

        Neither do I - so what is your point? Any device can be broken given physical proximity - ANY device. But let's see the results at the next PWN2OWN shall we?[b]

        Security? WTF.... why don't you search for iTunes store hacked news and compare it to anything you can find on Android or Gmail. Tell me when you're done making an arse out of you and your smiley slick dick faced friend Chris Dawson![/b]

        The only one making an "arse" of himself is you... But okay let's play your game... talk to me about the random SMS feature that Android devices have - you know the one where you type an SMS text and it gets sent to whatever person the device decides rather than the recipient it was meant to go to. Or let's talk sales - What about the absolutely wonderful sales the Galaxy Tab has had... oh wait, weren't 16% of those returned? And quite a few of the rest that were reported as retail sales... that went to distributors instead. Suuuuuuuuuuure....

        So tell me something, why do you take this so personally? Did some young stud with an iPhone take your wife away from you or something? Or are you just this much of a jack wagon?
        athynz
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @athynz<br>I wouldn't dare attempt to convert a born again iCrAppleholic like yourself in the first place. You are the epitome of an Apple Zealot and the closest to door stop Jehovah Witness as it gets. Not that all Jehovah Witnesses are bad or that there is anything wrong with being a brainless drone. It's just when religious principles are the basis of your misplaced faith and understanding of Apple as a corporate entity, then that blows your whole defense of them and proclaims your zealotry<br><br>I'm not sure if you actually really know Apple's products and have the facts to back up any of your claims. It seems none of you iZealots ever bother to check the truth in any of your claims. Like the iPod Nano having iOS installed. It doesn't!

        But that's beside the point, you people ignore the misdirection and RDF generation lies to cover the truth to justify your asinine claims. So here's the truth according to one of your gloriously exonerated CrAppleholic Cult Leaders:<br><a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-touchscreen-ipod-nano-does-not-run-ios/57467" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-touchscreen-ipod-nano-does-not-run-ios/57467</a><br><br>Sales? This isn't hard to prove either. But knowing you, you still won't be convinced that Apple has become a niche player in the 4th position on smartphone sales. Below Google Android, Nokia, and RIM. Here's the numbers link first:<br><a href="http://www.examiner.com/smartphones-in-national/google-android-beats-out-nokia-s-symbian-os-4th-quarter-2010-sales" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.examiner.com/smartphones-in-national/google-android-beats-out-nokia-s-symbian-os-4th-quarter-2010-sales</a><br><br>1. "Android beats out Symbian for first time in 10yrs"<br>2. "Google sold 32.9 million Android OS handsets in the 4th quarter compared to Symbians 31 million (double compared to 16 million iOS phones)" (Samsung = 4 million other smartphones, 11 Million Galaxy S phones and over 45 million phones total)<br>3. "Strong gains by all manufacturers lead by Samsung and HTC together accounted for almost half of Googles Android sales."<br>"2010 has been a fantastic year for Android, but Vendors cannot afford to be complacent. 2011 is set to be a highly competitive year with vendors looking to use new technology, such as dual-core processors, NFC and 3D displays, to differentiate their products and maintain value."<br><br>This happened ahead of schedule and is why Nokia will most likely pick Android and we are about to see the 1990's repeat itself once again. But as they say, you fail to learn the lesson that history teaches us, rest assured history will repeat itself.... again and again until you do. The Closed model didn't work then and it's not going to work this time either.<br><br>1. Repeating history by suing HTC (like Apple suing Microsoft then) = FAIL<br>2. Creating a proprietary closed box system is simply not the way to win and WIN BIG! ....that's over the long haul of course.<br>3. Spreading FUD about your competitors and generating RDF has never resulted in a dominant competitive WIN EVER!<br>4. Enjoy your niche market of simpletons and iCrAppleholic FOOLS! ;) <br><br><a href="http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2023536/iphone-failed-increase-apples-smartphone-market-share" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2023536/iphone-failed-increase-apples-smartphone-market-share</a><br><br>43% of Americans bought Android phones last year with biggest gains in the last two quarters. Apple FAILED to grow their smartphone market penetration. Despite record sales, because their Android competition also had far greater record sales!<br><br>btw.... Verizon record sales of iphones? haha... what a joke. Get a life, they are talking Verizon's practice of limiting pre-sales in order to have phones in stock for the actual opening launch. We won't know how good that is until it happens. But something's really fishy when while trying to drum up business, they pull a Microsoft ploy without giving any numbers. Now we know if you did this sell out of pre-orders in 2hrs, it was most likely down around 5 to 10,000 which is their typical pre-order allotment we don't ever find out anyway, because it gets buried in the sales data. Total 20 million iphone 4's isn't really that great and still didn't get them over RIM for a single model!<br><a href="http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2011/02/05/why-verizon-iphone-4-record-sales-is-anything-but-amazing/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2011/02/05/why-verizon-iphone-4-record-sales-is-anything-but-amazing/</a>
        i2fun@...
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Lennatron This article is just more idle speculation under an inflamatory headline. Par for zdnet these days.
        radleym
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @i2fun I asked you to try and convert me to Android without the middle school insults and I honestly didn't think you could... and I was right. Funny I thought someone who is - as YOU claim [b]You are the epitome of an Apple Zealot and the closest to door stop Jehovah Witness as it gets.[/b] would be a challenge to you. I guess you'd rather sit behind your keyboard justifying your empty existence by insulting people on tech blogs and spreading FUD. And BTW I'm most definitely not the epitome of an Apple Zealot... far from it! The only Apple product I own is my iPhone 4 having sold my iPhone 3G on eBay. I have a Dell XPS running Windows 7 as my desktop and an HP pavilion running Windows 7 as my desktop and my work phone is a Blackberry Curve... but sure, I'm an Apple Zealot... right... LOL I'm just here to point out the illogic and double standards you actual zealots post on here as facts. Speaking of which:

        [b]Total 20 million iphone 4's isn't really that great and still didn't get them over RIM for a single model!
        http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2011/02/05/why-verizon-iphone-4-record-sales-is-anything-but-amazing/[/b]

        20 Million iPhone 4s... not too shabby for what you want to call a "niche player"... and your link gave no sales numbers either - just a lot of conjecture on the part of the author and commenters. But VZW goes from slamming the iPhone to having record sales with it... makes me think that they are on the level. but we'll see when actual sales figures are released.

        I find it amusing how far you'll go to prove your Android zealotry and insult anyone who has anything negative to say about it or positive to say about Apple.

        I will admit to being wrong about the Nano - which makes me wonder why you even bothered to make the comment about including the sales of the Nano in with iOS devices... Oh wait, you edited that out of your post... way to own up to your mistake.

        As for Android outselling in the smartphone market - yeah I guess they would with VZW's BOGO deals on the Droids, with every single carrier having 3-4 different Android models, with 3 major manufacturers making them. For a company who was with one carrier until recently and is it's own manufacturer keeping close with the "in your face" approach of Android is pretty good. I'm more interested in seeing what the sales figures will look like with the viPhone.

        You do realize that all of your credibility goes out of the window when you start with things like this: [b]I wouldn't dare attempt to convert a born again iCrAppleholic like yourself in the first place.[/b]... so really you have no credibility.
        athynz
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @i2fun Apparently pradhanavs hit a nerve you can't handle. Just like pretty much every post I have ever seen from you these are full of personal attacks, slurs and vitriol. When you have to resort to things like these it's obvious to everyone but you that you are losing the argument and don't have a case to stand on.

        I won't bother going through every point but here is a fact or two for you. pradhanavs correctly commented on the AT&T meltdown. The fact is that the preorder day on AT&T for the iPhone 4 sold more iPhones than the preorder day for the Verizon iPhone. Yet in the first two hours of the Verizon preorder, which was in the middle of the night by the way, Verizon has stated they sold more iPhones than any phone they have ever sold has done on launch day. Considering Verizon is the biggest seller of Android phones I think it's pretty safe to say pradhanavs was absolutely correct in his statement.

        You bash Apple for including all iOS devices in their numbers then in the same sentence combine all Android devices against any one single smart phone manufacturer. Are you really so blinded by your small minded hatred that you cannot see the hypocrisy of this? If you want to compare market share or daily activations of OS platforms you have to look at all installs of each OS, not all from one and a select few of your choosing from the other. If you want to make a more accurate comparison only using the iPhone then only use comparable Android based phones, not every single one because they are not all comparable.
        non-biased
    • Well it is a good thing that Google...

      @tatiGmail... curates their application store...err.. wait what is that? They don't curate, or have an App review process?

      If you inadvertently install a rogue application designed to phish out your data or contacts, that data can be phished and pushed off the device in the matter of minutes if not seconds. By the time you realized what happened your pwned. <a href="http://www.google.com/mobile/android/market-tos.html">Android Market TOS</a> And when it happens, you have agreed to hold Google harmless, and that it is basically your fault for using products that they don't verify are legitimate products.

      Apple iOS may be a walled garden, but at least the apps I have installed have been reviewed by Apple, and do what the Developer claims it does.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh

        And how do you know Apple did everything in its power to protect you?
        Michael Kelly
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Michael Kelly...

        Well given all of the hoop-la over porn not being accepted, or why some apps are not accepted at all, they must be doing something to review them, otherwise we wouldn't hear about apps being rejected, most recently Sony's e-reader.

        A review of Apple <a href="http://daringfireball.net/2010/09/app_store_guidelines">TOS</a>

        Now while I contend there is no guarantee that Apple has reviewed every last line of code in an app, I have to say that at least given the fact that apps are being rejected, someone is at least looking at what these apps claim to do, and what the app is actually doing, and Apple is more likely to have the resources and the technology to verify what those apps do, than the average consumer, and has at least a two part benefit, 1 is to protect the consumer from a app whose sole purpose is to phish data, and 2 to protect iOS from becoming a OS riddled with hijacked apps.

        There is also the benefit of knowing that an App Dev for iOS actually had to pay, register, and provide identity information to Apple to develop for the platform, which again, if a offending app gets through, they can go back and say so and so submitted the app, and send law enforcement after them, as opposed to the accept all and any from anyone platform Google has.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
        There have been apps on iTunes that also phished data....
        You do the best you can.
        I for one see this as really a non issue as long as you take care and follow some basic common sense rules.
        ;)
        rhonin
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @zenwalker links please
        NaderBelaid
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh it all ready happened to Apple/iTunes, google iTunes/Book Scam. Hacker hit up itunes and put his content out there so Google/Android isn't alone in this front. Also take into account iTunes gift card scams are now up. Is itunes bad? No, thats not what i am saying, but even with "controls" nothing is perfect.
        aggiejon04
      • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh: you could just use your phone as a freaking phone and stop installing every app that catches your crazy eye. Not you, personally, the royal you. the editorial you.
        genewitch
    • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

      @tatiGmail Angry birds now wants to read your sms in the update. Malware can be hidden anywhere.
      LarsDennert
  • RE: Android Market now delivering malware, as well as updated Angry Birds?

    You're using Apple Insider as "source" material for your post? I love "news" without "bias." How is a secure website different from a secure iTunes? Not a whole lot of difference there. I propose to you that anyone with an interest in hacking into someone's account would likely not care if the account was an Apple/iTunes account or a Google account.

    More pro-Apple bias. Pretty ridiculous.
    joeyjabroni
    • .

      @joeyjabroni
      Richard_SF@...