Japanese Agency Warns Android Users of New Virus

Jan 24, 2011
Tadashi Nakamichi, Nikkei Electronics

The Security Center of Japan's Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA/ISEC) issued a warning that attention should be paid to a new virus targeted at smartphones and tablet PCs based on Google Inc's Android platform Jan 21, 2011.

Specifically, IPA/ISEC warned of "Geinimi," a bot-type virus that hides in a smartphone or a tablet PC and acts under the command of malicious people.

Though a virus that sends messages by using a fee-based SMS (short message service) without notice and a virus that collects location and personal information without notice were found in the past, this is the first time that a bot type has been found. Bot-type viruses allegedly began to spread in China in late 2010.

When an application software embedded with a bot function is installed in a computer, it is possible that phone calls are made, e-mails are sent and personal information is stolen by a malicious third party.

Geinimi is embedded in games, photo albums and other applications downloadable from the Android Market and other Websites, and it cannot be identified by appearance. IPA recommends that Android users do not permit the installation of "application of unknown provider" (so that it becomes impossible to obtain applications from Websites other than the Android Market) and be careful to install applications that demand access to "personal information" or a "fee-based service."