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FBI Issues Android Virus Warning 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
Dupple writes "The IC3 has been made aware of various malware attacking Android operating systems for mobile devices. Some of the latest known versions of this type of malware are Loozfon and FinFisher. Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email. A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user's address book and the infected device's phone number."
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FBI Issues Android Virus Warning

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:18PM (#41663917)

    Clearly, Android isn't fragmented enough yet. The industry needs to work to further fragment the platform until this type of attack isn't viable.

  • by krelvin (771644) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:18PM (#41663919)

    Places and things people should not be clicking on in the first place.

    • by yog (19073) * on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:42PM (#41664141) Homepage Journal

      You still have to deal with typo squatters. If you type goole.com instead of google.com or some such you may end up at a phony website designed to phish you.

      Fortunately, it seems that the big players have grabbed most of the common typos like gogle.com, bankoamerica.com and so forth. But out of millions of sites, there's bound to be plenty of opportunities for a determined script kiddie.

    • A just-released Google Play store app update, as well as the company's recent acquisition of VirusTotal seem to hint that yes, Google is looking into it. Google yesterday started rolling out an update to its Google Play Store app version 3.8.17 from August was bumped to version 3.9.16 in October. The update to the phone has two parts. The first thing called App Check would apparently allow Google to inspect apps you’ve already downloaded and a second feature would warn you if an app you’re try
  • by Scutter (18425) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:19PM (#41663935) Journal

    No information about attack vectors (such as compromised apps), how to tell if you're infected, what to do if you think you're infected, etc. Par for the course.

    • by euxneks (516538) on Monday October 15, 2012 @07:58PM (#41664603)
      Essentially, it's FUD.
  • Only took... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:21PM (#41663945)

    10 years of smartphone generations for the government to realize there's the potential for viruses, spyware, and malware on these things as they are in all sense of the word a computer. I'm willing to bet google is now going to regulate the android market a little better, it still depends heavily on the user as to the risk posed to the device, just like with PCs.

    I've also got to respectfully disagree with the article on rooting your device, it opens up the potential to load some pretty nifty security tools that help keep you safe in the first place.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      10 years of smartphone generations for the government to realize there's the potential for viruses, spyware, and malware on these things as they are in all sense of the word a computer. I'm willing to bet google is now going to regulate the android market a little better, it still depends heavily on the user as to the risk posed to the device, just like with PCs.

      I've also got to respectfully disagree with the article on rooting your device, it opens up the potential to load some pretty nifty security tools that help keep you safe in the first place.

      It has nothing to do with the Android Market (that's not where these apps are hosted) it has to do with the fact that on Android phones, you only have to navigate down a few screens to find the check-box that turns off enforcement of market-only content. For users that decide to do that, all bets are off on security as they can say OK to sharing just about any information or permission (except that which wants to alter system level apps). What Google apparently needs to do is add a few more "Are you sure?

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:23PM (#41663967)

    Which version(s) of Android are vulnerable and which browsers? How does the attack work? Do I need to download and run a file? Just click on the file? Just visit the web page?

    Is this even a real threat? It sounds like a vague alert that anti-virus companies send out to get you to buy their product.

    • by Vylen (800165)
      A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device.

      FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

      Based on that, it'd be simple websites telling people to download some installer/apk.
      • by hawguy (1600213)

        A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device.

        FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

        Based on that, it'd be simple websites telling people to download some installer/apk.

        I don't think they gave enough details to know for sure that is what's going on - most users won't have configured their phone to install apk's that didn't come from the Android phone, does this attack work against them?

        If they are going to go through the trouble to issue an advisory, they should explain how the attack works so we can educate our users.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          I don't think they gave enough details to know for sure that is what's going on - most users won't have configured their phone to install apk's that didn't come from the Android phone, does this attack work against them?

          If they are going to go through the trouble to issue an advisory, they should explain how the attack works so we can educate our users.

          Given it's the FBI, I'm guessing a LOT of people probably have the Amazon store installed as welll, which means the checkbox is checked. Or, don't underesti

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Android Defence Force to the rescue. Form of Obfuscation and FUD!

    • by vawwyakr (1992390)
      I did some searching and you do in fact have to agree to install the program. Even then you have to have accept unknown sources enabled.
  • by scottbomb (1290580) on Monday October 15, 2012 @06:43PM (#41664147) Journal

    Android is secure enough as it is. My HTC will check with me and double check before it installs any apk. As long as there are people who can be suckered into installing unknown software, we will always have viruses.

  • ...as a million iPhone users snicker as the FBI classifies Android as a virus.

  • Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday October 15, 2012 @07:08PM (#41664327)
    This is not a virus.
    • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tooyoung (853621) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:35PM (#41665453)
      Well, we've kind of dug ourselves into a hole here. For the past two years, we've been describing social engineering attacks against Apple as viruses. Sure, we knew that they weren't, but it helped to dent Apple armor on the "we don't get viruses" claim. When Apple supporters posted that these were trojans, etc, we trolled them and said they were merely arguing semantics. Now we've just got to sit through a little blow back.
  • Wow, dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by funkylovemonkey (1866246) on Monday October 15, 2012 @07:36PM (#41664477)
    So I have to click on a strange email and then follow an unknown link where I will be asked to download an .apk? Then I will have to go into settings and click on the option to allow me to install something that isn't in the Play Store, click through the warning that tells me that sideloading an app can lead to viruses and malware, and then install the .apk which then asks me if I'm cool with it accessing my contacts, internet and everything else? If you do all that, you're pretty determined to have problems. I imagine that those who know how to side load apps on their phone are smart enough to not randomly install apps from questionable sources. Or at least they should be smart enough to know that they have no one to blame but themselves if they fall for it.
    • You underestimate the power of human stupidity.

      See: Bonzai Buddy, every IE search toolbar every created, et al.

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Look, the random email said I had to do that crap to see the dancing baby, so I did it. You have a problem with that?

    • I will be asked to download an .apk

      I will install a normal application, like I have done many time before.

      Then I will have to go into settings and click on the option to allow me to install something that isn't in the Play Store

      Loading application that are outside of the walled garden is one of the main reasons for using Android. A bunch of my technical friends advocated this as the main reason for buying this phone in the first place.

      click through the warning that tells me that sideloading an app can

      • by Mathinker (909784)

        And spam still exists because there exist a small minority of people who are simultaneously capable of using computers but not capable enough to learn what spam is and how to avoid it. So what? Because of the small minority of such people, Android is broken? The exact same people could have had their "technical friends" show them how to jailbreak iOS, etc....

  • >One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email.

    How about a name and shame app showing idiots who fall for this?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

    In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

    How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

    How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

    Which software would that be?

    Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a prop

  • by chowdahhead (1618447) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:09PM (#41665299)
    It's a problem for mobile platforms in general.

    FinFisher spyware made by U.K.-based Gamma Group can take control of a range of mobile devices, including Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM)’s BlackBerry, an analysis of presumed samples of the software shows...“When FinSpy Mobile is installed on a mobile phone it can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where in the world the Target is located,” a FinSpy brochure published by WikiLeaks says. Systems that can be targeted include Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Mobile, the Apple iPhone’s iOS and BlackBerry and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android, according to the company’s literature. Today’s report says the malware can also infect phones running Symbian, an operating system made by Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), and that it appears the program targeting iOS will run on iPad tablets.

    source [paritynews.com]

  • Malware isn't a virus and require the end user to download and run the malware ..
  • Funny, there's no mention of the FBI in the article. Did someone get over-excited when they wrote the headline?
  • So all I have to do to keep from getting it is to avoid tapping on ads or obviously fake "system update" texts? Wow, that sounds nigh impossible.

  • Come on.

    Anyone who does that much work/effort to get malware on their device (as opposed to browser bugs, random click-throughs, etc) deserves to get pwn3d.

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