Android App Trojans a False Alarm, Says Expert

February 2, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

An alarm bell went off in the Android Market recently when Symantec announced that at least 13 apps around there in the market are nothing but malicious codes. The company had said that the codes showing Trojan behavior were trying to steal info from users’ devices and allowing others to access them remotely. Since then, not many shared a similar opinion.

Google was adamant that they wouldn’t remove them from the Android Market, since they did not find any malicious activity from the apps in question.

Roger Thompson, a researcher with ICSA, has now come out saying that the apps don’t seem to be Trojans. He stated that they are just a new release of an advertising platform that very much resembles to malware.


However, he is not ready to blow hard at Symantec for raising a false alarm. Because he thinks, things can be that way too, though nobody has got enough proof until now.

According to him, one of the apps, for instance, had the ability to download extra modules in its earlier version, which made it to be mistaken as a Trojan.

It seems the issue is with definitions of what makes a Trojan, when and how. While viruses and worms are easy to detect with their nature of spreading themselves, Trojans are difficult to decide.

Either one should observe them to find anything like recording keystrokes, sending premium SMS, downloads without permission or should reverse the code to see something wrong. While these two ways are hard, relying on an anti-virus system is easy but can be false sometimes.

However, the chances of Trojans cannot be over ruled, since Android apps are nothing but simple zipped files, which anybody can unzip, stick in a malicious code, and upload to an app sharing place other than Android Market.

So the moral of the story is- download your app only from legitimate and believable sources. What do you say, folks?

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