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Thread: Google House-Cleaning with Google Play Store; 29 Malware Apps 'Kicked to the Curb'

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    Google House-Cleaning with Google Play Store; 29 Malware Apps 'Kicked to the Curb'


    Google went on a spree recently with some Google Play Store house cleaning. They found 29 malicious apps and "kicked them to the proverbial curb." These apps were identified by Symantec, and apparently, collected email addresses and phone numbers after being installed. Here's a quote with a few more details,

    The first app appeared in the store as early as February. The first deployment was embedded into a variety of different types of app ranging from contact managers to diet assistance. Proving unpopular, the developers released a second round. The second wave all had titles that ended in “the Movie”, and played a video about popular Japanese video games. These apps were installed an estimated 70,000 to 300,000 times. Essentially, the app would simultaneously download the user requested movie while uploading the user’s contact list to a remote server.

    Joji Hamada from Symantec said, “According to Yomiuri Online, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has begun investigating this incident and is attempting to track down the developers.”
    It's nice to see them taking care of things, although it makes you wonder how many they don't find...

    Source: PhoneArena
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    #2
    How do these apps get approved to be on the market in the first place?
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by gthotie5 View Post
    How do these apps get approved to be on the market in the first place?
    There is no approval process for the Play Store.
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    Where is the list of apps?
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by johnm93359 View Post
    Where is the list of apps?
    Likely no list, but a good way to check if you have it is to check every app you have in the Play Store, and see if any come back as unavailable.

    Also, the context makes me think this was a Japan-oriented (no pun intended) raid as it involed Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
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    How many have they missed? I've seen all types of shifty looking apps just browsing the market, judging by name alone. How can a programmer be so terrible at spelling? That itself turns me away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjk629 View Post
    There is no approval process for the Play Store.
    That's the problem.

    Sent from my GalaxyNexus using DroidForums
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gthotie5 View Post
    That's the problem.

    Sent from my GalaxyNexus using DroidForums
    If you want an OS-approved-app-only store, head right on over and get yourself an ifone. I'll stick with a more freedom-oriented market, thank you very much.
    ‘‘Sure... if you're rounding Pi down to three. Please don't make me add 'rounding Pi down to three' to your list of crimes.’’
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    Not all devs have english as their primary language.

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    #10
    I recently did some research into this very topic (for my Intro to Intellectual Property course), and there are clear problems with the market, but it's what the consumer wants. Many of us choose android because it is open source and anyone with the right skill set can be a developer and sell or give away apps in the android market (Google Play). The problem is that Google, with the exception of this "house-cleaning," does almost nothing to regulate the apps. They admit in their developer agreement that they don't monitor the applications, and rely on feedback to find malicious apps.

    Further, besides requiring developers to divulge the permissions required by each app, what assurance do any of us have that our privacy is not being infringed upon? If I download a weather app, I assume GPS is required to provide me an accurate forecast, but do I really know that to be the case? Bottom line, only download apps from developers you trust, and take time to read reviews before downloading some random app from the depths of the market.
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