Feeds

Google rejects spy-happy Android app

Eventually

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has decided that eavesdropping is a step too far for even Android's laissez-faire attitude to application vetting, and rejected such an app despite waving it through first time.

Secret SMS Replicator was initially approved by Google and listed in the Android Marketplace, but Switched explains that 18 hours later the application was pulled and is now only available in its less-secret incarnation as a back-up tool, showing that even Google feels unwarranted interception of communications is a little bit too evil.

SMS Replicator sends a copy of every SMS received to a selected number, and the Secret version provides no indication on the user's phone that such a copy has been made - making it ideal for those wishing to spy on partners or children without all that mucking about with hats and false moustaches.

Such applications already exist on mobiles, with some capable of recording phone calls as well as messages; but this is notable thanks to Google's approval, and subsequent removal from the Android Marketplace.

Symbian Signed has approved such applications in the past, making it clear that it doesn't consider moral judgements to be part of its remit. One can be pretty certain that Apple would allow no such thing even if the lack of multitasking on iOS would make it technically difficult anyway.

Google has always applied the lightest of touches to the Android Marketplace, but by rejecting Secret SMS Replicator the company has shown that there is a line it won't cross.

Not that this means the application will go away: Android apps don't have to be approved, and with the paranoid doing the installation on their partner's temporarily-purloined handset, no on-screen warnings about unsigned applications are going to discourage installation. The developer, DLP Mobile, doesn't have Secret SMS Replicator listed for direct sale yet, but we can't imagine there's anything more than the necessary billing system that's holding them back.

So the message is clear - if you want to keep your affair secret than you need to have an iPhone, or something equally well locked down. Android users will just have to stay faithful, or take their chances. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.