A virus targeting Android phones that allows hackers to take over your handheld has been found attached to gaming applications, a mobile security firm reported today.
San Francisco-based Lookout Mobile Security reported on its blog that the virus was found on third-party gaming apps in China, not in Google's official Android Market. All Android users are still allowed to download any kind of app, official or unofficial, by enabling apps from "unknown sources," something often called sideloading. But because we live in a global economy, these infected games from China are only a few taps away from any Android user.
"These are repackaged versions of legitimate games injected with a virus and put back out on the pirated market," Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer for the Lookout, told NBCBayArea.com "U.S. users may encounter these if they are looking for pirated content."
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(Not surprisingly, Lookout also offers a free mobile security app to help users identify potential threats.)
The virus, a Trojan known as "Geimini," allows the mobile device to be controlled remotely, can generate and send information on the user and install more viruses.
Mahaffey said that Android users should avoid any pirated content, including using sites or vendors they don't know or trust. "People should look at their smartphones as a mini-PC, and use all the same security measures on your phone," he said. "Remember, caveat emptor -- buyer beware."