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Chinese mobile malware powers click-fraud scam

Android Trojan turns smartphones into bots

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Malware writers are trying to infect Chinese users of Android smartphones with a Trojan that poses as a wallpaper for the smartphone's screen or other legitimate applications, such as the popular game RoboDefense.

The mobile malware, dubbed Adrd or alternatively HongTouTou, has been seeded onto third-party mobile app stores in China. The official Android Market is not affected.

If installed, the Trojan gathers the IMEI and IMSI numbers of compromised devices, uploading this information to a remote server, before generating counterfeit queries against particular search results. The malware specifically generated fraudulent clicks on the Baidu ad network, according to anti-virus firm AVG, which reckons the Trojan is the work of a group also producing malware targeting Symbian smartphone.

The use of the malware in a click-fraud scam marks it out as more sophisticated than previous flavours of Android malware, which typically send SMS messages to premium rate numbers from compromised handsets.

The Adrd Trojan also bundles automatic updating functionality, as explained in an alert by the mobile security researchers at Lookout here. ®

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