Kaspersky Labs says First Android Trojan has been detected

August 10, 2010, By Thomas Antony

Android recently soared to the first place among mobile platforms in the US thanks to outstanding sales on a multitude of carriers and smartphone devices. Of course, the popularity meant that the platform would be targeted more by malware. According to Kaspersky Labs, they have detected what is said to be the first Android trojan. Named as Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, the trojan comes in the form of a media player application which sends premium-rate SMSs in the background, without any notification, apparently making money for the perpetrator.

While this is not the first instance of viruses on the platform, it is the first instance of Android-native code with malware. While Google has a number of safeguards up in place against malware apps, it depends to a certain level on the user’s vigilance. Any app uploaded to the android market has to specify if it has to have access to functions which require permission from the user. This includes functionalities such as accessing the SD card, messages, making calls etc. When a user installs the application, he has to review the list of permissions shown and accept them. The trojan starts with a harmless and normal media player application, the infected software will later ask for your permission to install a 13KB add-on with text message sending permission.

While viruses have popped up on the iPhone platform as well, they usually affect only jailbroken iPhones. This is mainly due to Apple’s strict and sometimes draconian review process to approve any application. This new trojan is significant as it works on almost any android device out there regardless of whether it has been rooted/jailbroken.

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