Is there an Android botnet in the wild?

6 Jul 2012

Various reports suggesting that Android devices are susceptible to botnet attacks have surfaced in the last 24 hours. Trend Micro has just warned of a virus called BOTPANDA which takes advantage of root access to connect Android devices to a C&C server that is being used to create an Android botnet.

Trend Micro has warned that the threat is persistent and difficult to detect and clean since it infects the device at the root system level, and remains even if the original app is uninstalled.

“The threat of this is twofold: sensitive information can be stolen from infected devices brought into a business environment and a mobile botnet opens up new possibilities.

“The number of infected apps has grown by more than 30pc in the last two weeks and continues to persist in third-party Android markets,” Trend Micro warned.

Sudden interest in Android security risks

There seems to be a lot of interest among security software players lately in how susceptible (or not) Android devices are to hacker attacks and viruses.

The Trend Micro botnet warning comes just after two senior security researchers from Sophos and Microsoft had to backtrack on their warnings that Android devices were being hacked to send spam emails after Google disputed their findings.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years