Android security threatened by malware; Google pulls infected apps

by Kristen Nicole

Security seems to be a major theme this week, and for Android users, it’s time to crack down on the growing malware apps that are taking over the market. Dozens of applications in Google’s (GOOG) Android Market have been discovered to be infected with malware called “DroidDream,” which can take over a user’s device, compromising their personal data.

Google has taken action, having removed over 20 apps from the Market, though it’s unclear whether any downloaded infected apps have been removed from devices as well. It’s reported that as many as 200,000 Android devices could have been affected by DroidDream, highlighting a stark reality of our rapidly expanding mobile economy.

The rise of malware markets

As open mobile markets stretch across the globe, risk factors increase for end users. Lookout, a mobile security company that launched its first app for Android devices, notes the myriad of infected apps, including publisher Myournet’s Super History Eraser, Hot Sexy Videos, Scientific Calculator and Dice Roller. As you can see, infected apps span the gamut, making it even more difficult for an end user to assess the danger of a Market app.

Lookout is one of the many security apps that have stepped in to fill some of the gaps of the Android Market, even launching an App Genome Report outlining trends around malware, security and other relevant marketplace behavior. The most recent report notes the rise of third-party app markets which further increase risks around mobile malware attacks, as global users seek to distribute and monetize apps on a larger scale.