In general, mobile operating systems such as the Symbian, Windows Phone 7 and the iOS are quite virus-free in general. Unfortunately, the same can't be said with Google's mobile operating system which is the Android. Due to its open source nature, Android has been repeatedly hit with viruses and malware in the past. Now a new virus threatens the Android platform which is reportedly capable of recording phone calls and upload them to an online server.
The virus was discovered by CA Technologies, an IT management software and solutions company which states that the virus itself is quite a leap forward for Android viruses as it has a neat configuration and the ability to record calls. In contrast with earlier viruses which can only log information such as phone numbers, duration of the call and the likes.
According to CA Technologies:
We have been recently blogging about many Android malware as the threat landscape has been witnessing an increasing trend in targeting the mobile platforms and today we have received an Android package to our collection and observed that this piece of malware walks an additional mile by having a neat configuration and has a capability to record the telephonic conversation the infected victim makes. In one of our earlier blogs, we have demonstrated how a Trojan logs all the details of incoming/outgoing calls and call duration in a text file. This Trojan is more advanced as it records the conversation itself in “amr” format. Also it has got many other malicious activities that we have seen in many of the earlier malware incidents targeted for Android platform.
At first look, the virus may pose as a harmless app as it fools users into installing the program by mimicking the permission dialog that's similar to installing a standard Android Market app. Once installed, the virus loads itself into the user's device and adds a config file to a remote server. So when you make a phone call from that device, the malware records the conversation as an .amr file and saves it into the SD card.
There are still no clear information what the malware does with the recorded phone calls but it is highly possible that it is being uploaded back into the remote server in order to be accessed by the one who's responsible for the virus.
While many people applaud the fact that the Android is an open source platform because of advantages like app freedom, the same open nature can be also viewed as the platform's weakness. Viruses and malwares are increasingly becoming worst for Android. When compared to the App Store, it is far more easier for an app that's loaded with viruses and malwares to penetrate the Android Market.
At the end of the day, choosing what apps to download is ultimately up to you. Before you go install an app from the Market always practice preventive measures such as reading the comments in the market, checking the rating, checking the permissions and checking the developer's website. But it doesn't hurt to have an extra layer of protection, so installing a security suite is highly recommended. If you want a low-profile and free security App, then Lookout Mobile Security should cover you just fine.