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China's Android users warned of giant botnet

One million infected by MKD Trojan, and counting

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Security researchers in China are warning Android users to be on their guard after claiming to have discovered a million-strong botnet lurking on the platform.

The Android.Troj.mdk Trojan, first spotted by security firm Kingsoft Duba back in early 2011, is thought to be hidden in over 7,000 apps today, including many popular games such as Fishing Joy and Temple Run.

Once installed it allows the attacker to remotely control the victim’s smartphone for a variety of nefarious ends including harvesting contact and messaging details, generating nuisance adware, committing click fraud and downloading additional apps, Xinhua reported.

The million-node-plus botnet represents a small proportion of the 150 million users of Android phones in China today, but its relative success thus far points to a worrying lack of user awareness around the dangers of downloading apps from unofficial third party stores.

Aside from installing mobile security software, China is urging users to keep an eye on their call history and data traffic and to beware of any gaming apps seeking unusual permissions, such as access to SMS or other content, according to Xinhua.

China has been a hotbed of Android malware for several years. Last year the government was even forced to publicly reprimand operators China Mobile and China Telecom for persistently allowing security vulnerabilities in their application stores. ®

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