Security Experts:

Multiple Variants of Android Malware 'Hong Tou Tou' Surface in China

New mobile malware targeting Android devices has been spotted in China, mobile security company NetQin warned today. Dubbed "Hong Tou Tou", NetQin is currently tracking two variants including "BD.HongTouTou.A”, which was discovered on February 18th, and “BD.HongTouTou.B”, which it discovered today.

BD.HongTouTou.A - Lures Android users to download and install the app the by hiding itself in legitimate apps such as the well known game RoboDefense. Once activated, the mobile malware connects to a network in the background, and attempts to collect data from the users smartphone, encrypts it and send it to a remote server.

BD.HongTouTou.B – Discovered by NetQin today, this variant lures the user to download and install the mobile app under the name "Dynamic Footprint Wallpaper". Similar to BD.HongTouTou.A, after being installed and activated, it will connect in the background and attempt to collect the user data, and send it to a remote server.

Lookout, another mobile security firm, in its App Genome Project warns users about Alternative Android App Markets. The App Genome Project analyzed two alternative markets for Android that target Chinese customers. While these markets serve a legitimate need for local apps, nearly 11% of the redistributed apps also available on the Android Market were found to be repackaged, or not submitted by the original developer. Of these, nearly a quarter request more permissions than the original app.

In December 2010, Lookout, discovered a sophisticated Trojan coming from an AppStore in China that affected Android devices. The Trojan, which it named “Geinimi,” was able to compromise a significant amount of personal data on a user’s phone and send it to remote servers. As the overall app ecosystem continues to evolve with the addition of new alternative app markets and continued growth in the competing platforms, Lookout expects to see an increasing number of threats to privacy and security.

Related Tech Track: Mitigation of Security Vulnerabilities on Android & Other Open Handset Platforms

Read More on Mobile Security in SecurityWeek's Mobile & Wireless Security Section

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