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News

ESET Comments On Malicious Android App

ESET : 14 March, 2011  (Technical Article)
Chinese repackaged malicious application cleaning tool for Android phones comes as no surprise to ESET

In relation to the news that suspicious code has been found in a repackaged Chinese version of the tool Google released last weekend to remotely clean malicious apps off Android phones, David Harley, senior research fellow at antivirus software company ESET, has the following comments on the issue:


“In a sense, there’s nothing very surprising about legitimate anti-malware utilities being compromised and subverted: back in the mid-90s, at the onset of the macro virus onslaught, a respected AV researcher put out a document containing protective macros: however, since some of them were execute-only, someone had the idea of putting out a very similar document, but infected it with a new macro virus. Over time, compromised security software may have been as successful an infection vector as porn or games, while we’re all painfully aware of the current spate of fake security software.”


“What may surprise you is that though China has a very different view of IP issues and is, indeed, notorious for software piracy, there’s less of a problem there than you might think with “green” software as an infection vector. In this context, green has nothing to do with environmental awareness: it means software that’s cracked and modified so that it’s a simple one-shot install that doesn’t jump through the authentication hoops that industrial strength commercial apps and OS’s usually require in the West. But whereas pirated software is often (rightly or wrongly) associated with compromise by malware, green software servers tend to be kept fairly hygienic in that respect. So finding compromised software even in an informal marketplace may be more of a shock to the Chinese consumer than you might think. An interesting example of ongoing Westernization, perhaps?”

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