More than 50 apps have been pulled from the Android Market after they were discovered to contain malicious code. If installed, these apps, containing a packaged dubbed "DroidDream," effectively "rooted" users' phones and captured personal information. Here's how to check for them and fend them off.
We've previously posted on how to tell if an Android app is malware, and most of the tips hold out, set against DroidDream as a case study.
In this case, a Reddit user noticed that a certain Android developer had a nasty habit of creating nothing but clone apps and copyright violations. Digging further, however, the Android Police blog discovered the developers' apps were found to go far beyond the permissions granted by users. Once the app was able to "root" the users' phone, it could grab unique identifiers, phone numbers, and other data and send it to an unknown server.
Also recommended: a security app such as Lookout. Lookout's blog has a detailed post on DroidDream, including a full list of the apps found to be carrying DroidDream so far. Some are laughable to most ("Hilton Sex Sound," "几何战机_PewPew"), but others could be legitimately deceiving to newcomers: "Advanced Currency Converter," "Advanced Barcode Scanner").
If you think your Android phone may have been infected, download and install Lookout, which has updated with the app names and the exploit code. If you're wondering how to prevent future Android malware, our best advice is to look at an app carefully before installing it, and check the developers' other apps to see if they're more concerned about quality over quantity.
Update: Security Alert: DroidDream Malware Found in Official Android Market [The Official Lookout Blog]