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Second SMS Android Trojan targets smut-seeking Russians

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A second SMS-sending Trojan targeting smartphones running on the Android operating system has appeared, being distributed via Russian-language sites offering pornographic video clips.

Android users visiting these sites are offered the Trojan while users of other mobile platforms receive the desired smut clip, reports Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Labs. The approach suggests people running these sites might be in on the scam.

The latest Trojan - dubbed Trojan-SMS-AndroidOS-FakePlayer-B - poses as a media player package, the same tactic adopted by its predecessor. In both cases, an Android smartphone only gets infected after a user manually installs the application. During the installation the Trojan seeks a user’s consent to send SMS messages - something a legitimate media player package would neither need nor request.

Once installed, the Trojan begins sending SMS messages to a premium rate number costing $6 each, enriching cybercrooks in the process. This happens as a background process so victims would normally only find out they have been stung once a hefty bill lands on their doorstep.

“Android users should pay close attention to the services that an application seeks permission to access,” said Denis Maslennikov, mobile research group manager at Kaspersky Lab.

“Automatically permitting a new application to access every service that it says it needs to means you could end up with malicious or unwanted applications doing all sorts of things without requesting any additional information.”

The success of Android in the marketplace has made it an attractive target for cybercrooks. Very few malicious applications targeting the platform have appeared so far, but Kaspersky and other anti-virus experts reckon it's only a matter of time before many more nasties appear. ®

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