Warning: Fake Skype app on Android is malware

Warning: Fake Skype app on Android is malware

Summary: Cybercriminals have created a fake Skype app for Android that is really malware in disguise. The idea is to make money by leveraging all the hype surrounding Skype's mobile growth.

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Update on July 19 - Microsoft also warns of fake Skype malware app on Android

Warning: Fake Skype app on Android is malware

A new piece of malware is trying to take advantage of Skype's increasing popularity, especially on mobile devices. Cybercriminals have created a fake version of the Skype for Android app, designed to earn money from unsuspecting users. Trend Micro, which first discovered the malware, is calling this particular threat  JAVA_SMSSEND.AB.

The Java in the name should not surprise you, given that Android apps are primarily developed in a custom version of the programming language. Thankfully, this is not a very good fake. The app in question only runs on older (pre Software Installation Script) Symbian phones or Android devices that allow execution of Java MIDlet.

The cybercriminals behind this scheme have set up fake websites advertising fake Skype apps. Most of the sites are hosted on Russian domains (.ru) but the fake apps themselves are hosted on Nigerien domains (.ne).

The reason this is not a good fake is that instead of an .apk file (the expected package file for Android apps), users are served up with a .jar (Java MIDlet). While the app poses as an installer for Skype, what it really does is install a piece of malware. The devil is in the details: in the background, the malicious app sends expensive international text messages to earn its creators revenue.

Android lets you download and install apps from anywhere. If you want the official version of an app, however, get it from the official Google Play store. Here is the official Skype link: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skype.raider.

Update on July 19 - Microsoft also warns of fake Skype malware app on Android

See also:

Topics: Security, Android, Apps, Google, Malware, Microsoft, Mobile OS

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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27 comments
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  • Instagram?

    Last time I checked ... Instagram wasn't Skype. But, at least it's not pretending to be Skype.
    Yuki Hyou
    • Fixed.

      Thanks for the heads up!
      Empro
  • Let'e see...

    A fake version of a Microsoft Product, turns out to be malware on a competitor's OS? Something sounds really strange about that. If it wasn't targeting one specific OS I would believe it was indeed minor criminals, but it is sounding more like the handiwork of the largest criminal corporation on the planet (Microsoft), when you really think about it.
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • What a jackwagon

      You really need to get a life and get over your fascination with Microsoft. Google probably allowed the app in exchange for a chunk of the profits, after all google is just an advertising company with no real business model.
      hopp64
      • So since you can't refute the facts

        You resort to ad hominem attacks? Your Mom must be real proud of you. Logically it would make sense, when you consider Microsoft long, and well documented behavior. What better way to promote your product (that no one with an I.Q. over 40 wants), ten to create security issues with the competition? Microsoft has stooped that low in the past, and has not shown any proof they wouldn't do it again. Those are facts, compared to your "defend the hive" mentality. So if you till want to honestly see a "jackwagon ", look in a mirror...
        Jumpin Jack Flash
        • You are a real piece of work

          You have no proof that Microsoft created the app but you just troll along with your Microsoft hatred.

          Where are your "facts" or proof that Microsoft has created security issues for the competition? You don't have any do you. Either site yur facts or stop your lying. You just post attacks at Microsoft as that is all you have in your little pathetic life. Is your mom calling you...
          hopp64
          • Microosoft has a long history of doing jut that.

            You don't honestly think the company that ported QuickTime to Windows, did such a poor job? No Microsoft introduced incompatibilities themselves, after they got the source code for QuickTime. When they got caught, they settled. They purchased $150 million in non-voting Apple stock, and agreed to keep writing Office for Mac for 5 years. QuickTime got a bad rep, because it has had many "issues" on Windows. Microsoft's greatest invention is F.U.D. One plus one equals two
            Jumpin Jack Flash
    • Do you really think,

      or think too much? minor crimals would be blocked by the AppStore of Apple, and Market Place of Microsoft, and even AppStore of Amazon. Where as OTOH, google really never checks its Play Store, which google admitted a while back, and anyone is free to publish there almost anything. I think technology is not good for you.
      Ram U
      • I mean

        "minor criminals" in your terms.
        Ram U
        • Back to your phone line Haji

          Microsoft pays you to read cards, not actually think. By the way, is it hot in Bangalore?
          Jumpin Jack Flash
          • re:

            Racist moron, you sure represent the hating open source community (what's that other guy again... oh yeah, SJVN).
            Martijn2
          • The new ZDNet. It's more than a community.

            Or is it less?

            @Martijn2

            I believe that Jumpin Jack Flash is an Apple fan. Please don't associate such language with the open-source community.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Ok, I know who you are

            It must be boring to live alone on your blogs and cursing whoever is trying to correct you on ZDNET blogs. FYI, I am neither from Bangalore nor associated to that city in anyway. India is bigger than Bangalore and Indians are much tolerant than you, otherwise that country wouldn't have allowed mongols, muslims, portugese, dutch, french and britishers to invade and rule for so many centuries. Also I neither live in India nor work for Microsoft. Now go back to your bigoted comments curse as much as you want. I care none.
            Ram U
          • Never mind, @Jumpin Jack Flash

            The call center queues are down which gives the shills here some extra Rupees to hype the latest Redmond nonsense.
            CaviarBlack
          • CB and JJF

            are match made in heaven.
            Ram U
          • Is swami.NET, jealous?

            Sounds like it.

            :)
            CaviarBlack
    • Skype is barely a Microsoft product

      Skype is barely a Microsoft product. Microsoft has done almost nothing to it. The original Skype team still develops the Skype product.

      In fact, Skype makes a LEGIT client for Android. They'd be undermining their own product if they were to do something like that.

      "Something sounds really strange about that."

      Other than it's a standard tactic to try to get people to use the malware? Fake antivirus software has been doing this for years.

      "If it wasn't targeting one specific OS I would believe it was indeed minor criminals"

      Umm, I'd say over 90% of malware targets on PCs are Windows. This is not unusual. Windows is the largest target with an easy to access ecosystem, why go after anybody else?

      Same goes with phone software: Android is a really large target, and iOS is locked down to high heaven with its software approval process. Android is the best target for malware.

      "but it is sounding more like the handiwork of the largest criminal corporation on the planet (Microsoft)"

      Why yes, if you don't have any good arguments, call them a "criminal corporation." Time to break out the tin foil hats.
      CobraA1
    • Largest Criminal Corporation on the Planet?

      You mean more criminal than the BP spill or Exxon Valdez? Maybe even Bain Capital?

      You sir, are a tool not worthy of serious consideration. From now on, I will just mock your posts as the silly pablum that they are. You have been written into the loonie ledger, right under SJVN.
      Your Non Advocate
  • adgea

    http://androidcupcake.com/
    nana admin
  • dfjdtgjde

    http://androidcupcake.com/
    nana admin