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Android malware scolds and shames users

An Android Trojan dubbed Walkinwat sends an SMS to all contacts stored on the phone, and sends personal data to a remote server.


Symantec reports that a fake version of an Android application exposes users to ridicule from their friends, family and business contacts.

A program masquerading as Walk and Text has appeared on several file sharing sites. The real Walk and Text is a messaging program that superimposes its display on a camera view of the real world, with the idea of avoiding embarrassing collisions and other mishaps. The app sells for €1.09 ($A1.49).

The bogus program seems designed to cause rather than avoid embarrassment, as it sends an SMS to everyone in the phone's contact list, reading "Hey,just downlaoded a pirated App off the Internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im stupid and cheap, it costed only 1 buck.Don't steal like I did!"

At the same time, it sends the user's name, phone number and other information to a remote server.

It finally taunts the user with the message: "Application Not Licensed. We really hope you learned something from this. Check your phone bill;) Oh and dont forget to buy the App from the Market".

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What isn't known is if there is any relationship between the Trojan and the genuine application. Symantec officials hypothesised that it would be an attempt to undermine Incorporate Apps, the developer of Walk and Text. Other possible explanations are that someone wanted to specifically punish people trying to use unlicensed copies of Walk and Text, that it was a more generalised shot at users of unlicensed apps and Walk and Text was picked more or less at random as the vehicle, or that the real goal was to collect personal information and the rest is just a smokescreen.

Symantec officials suggested this was the first example of mobile malware to deliver "disciplinary justice".

 

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.