It was always going to happen, but anti-virus specialist Kaspersky Labs has found its first reported case of a Trojan-SMS that attacks Android handsets. There have been cases of the same type of malware on non-smartphones, but this is the first targeted at users of Google's operating system.
The virus, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, comes disguised as a media player application and prompts users to install a file of just over 13KB with the standard Android extension .APK. It then uses the phone to send multiple SMS text messages to premium rate numbers without the owner's knowledge. Obviously, this could end up costing the handset owner a fortune, and make a packet for unscrupulous cybercriminals.
It's not the first reported case of a virus on the operating system, though, as spyware software has been discovered before.
And, unfortunately, Kaspersky is not expecting this latest example to be the last: “The IT market research and analysis organization IDC has noted that those selling devices running Android are experiencing the highest growth in sales among smartphone manufacturers. As a result, we can expect to see a corresponding rise in the amount of malware targeting that platform,” says Denis Maslennikov, the company's Mobile Research Group manager. “Kaspersky Lab is actively developing technologies and solutions to protect this operating system and plans to release Kaspersky Mobile Security for Android in early 2011”.