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PETA not behind clever Dog Wars Trojan

by Kristen Nicole

Dog fights can get ugly, especially when they take place on your Android. An older version of the controversial Dog Wars app has been compromised with a Trojan, which injects a package onto unknowing Android users called “Dogbiet.” You can tell if your Dog Wars app has been trojanized because the modified version is labeled PETA instead of BETA. Once installed, a service called “Rabies” is initiated in the background, and sends a text message to the PETA alert service, as Symantec uncovered earlier this week.

It’s a clever and sneaky way to retaliate against those Android users that own the game, which PETA publicly berated for its depiction of animal abuse. Though Dog Wars was eventually removed from the Android Market, PETA came out with its own app containing information on the offensive nature of pitting dogs against each other. And while PETA doesn’t take the credit for the hactivist trojan modification of Dog Wars, a representative called it “ingenious.”

Security apps, hackers balance the mobile industry

The app’s trojan, described in detail by security company Symantec, comes days after they released their latest Android app, Norton Mobile Security LITE. It’s a free app that scans your Android for viruses, protecting from malware, phishing sites and other threats. Hackers have found fresh blood in the mobile sector, though some famous hackers actually find themselves gainfully employed. Steve Kondik, the hacker behind one of the most popular Android modification kits, has been hired by Samsung Mobile. His creation of CyanogenMod software got the attention of the mobile industry at large, and Kondik will now be “working on making Android more awesome.”

New home for Google’s App Inventor

But not all Android app kits are for hackers. Google and MIT have built a new home for their App Inventor, the Android programming kit for non-programmers. Now housed at the MIT Center for Mobile Learning, the new program is funded in part by Google’s University Relations program. It’s great to see the return of App Inventor, which was all but lost when Google cut its Labs initiative. The program reportedly supports about 100,000 educators, students and hobbyists, keeping the spirit of experimentation alive.