A malicious program that can steal money has been detected for smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system.
The application was discovered by Kaspersky Lab and disguises itself as a media player. It prompts users to install a file of over 13KB in size with the standard Android extension .APK.
Once it is installed, however, the Trojan sends premium rate text messages without the owner knowing.
This money is then transferred directly into the app creator’s account.
Kaspersky Lab has identified this as the first harmful app to be developed for the Android platform. They have also identified isolated cases of devices with Android being infected with the program.
“The IT market research and analysis organisation IDC has noted that those selling devices running Android are experiencing the highest growth in sales among smartphone manufacturers,” said Denis Maslennikov, Mobile Research Group manager at Kaspersky Lab.
“As a result, we can expect to see a corresponding rise in the amount of malware targeting that platform,” Maslennikov said.
This news comes with Droid Security’s announcement that downloads for their free anti-virus app reached 2.5 million last week.
Kaspersky found that the malware program was most prevalent among Russian Android users.
However, they assure that worldwide Android owners that the risk is believed to be low.
Maslennikov said that the lab would be developing solutions to protect the operating system and have plans to release Kaspersky Mobile Security for Android in early 2011.