Malware Apps In App Stores?

SmartphoneThe recent discovery of a malware application for sale in the Google and Apple app stores is disturbing to me. We should be able to trust big name companies like Apple and Google to only sell us legitimate, safe applications for our smartphones. Is that too much to ask?

The recent revelation that both stores were selling an application called “Find and Call” for Android and iPhones indicates that these companies are not vetting the software sold in their stores. This software was developed in Russia, home of most of the cyber criminal organizations in the world…and no one saw fit to test it out before offering it in their stores. Incredible, simply incredible.

“Find and Call” is an application designed to make it easier for a smartphone user to call someone who’s in their contact list, without knowing their phone number. It is supposed to use the information the phone has stored for the contact and then search the Internet for the person’s phone number and call it.

However, the app has an additional functionality that’s not part of the marketing hype for the product. It also steals the user’s phone book data and uses it to spam their contacts. That’s outrageous, and shouldn’t be tolerated from any software dealer, especially two big names like Google and Apple. These companies have the resources available to have a quality check done on every piece of software they sell…before it goes on the shelf. In this case, that was not done. Consequently, both companies have received a black eye from the publicity surrounding this issue, and have subsequently pulled “Find and Call” from their stores. I hope a lesson was learned by Apple and Google that the quality of their apps should not be taken for granted, and by users to not blindly trust the applications they buy.

My recommendation to future purchasers of apps from any app store is to do some research on the app before buying it. And I would not buy an app that had only been for sale for a short period of time. Let someone else “test” it out before you buy it. There are usually user reviews for the apps that have been around awhile that will give you some additional information on its worthiness.

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

lubicp(at)yahoo.com and @paulsinternet on Twitter.

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4 Comments

Filed under Internet, Internet Security, security

4 responses to “Malware Apps In App Stores?

  1. Pingback: Create and Customize Your Very Own Quick Access Notepad Using Google Docs « What's On My PC

  2. I agree with your concern about Apple and Google app stores providing apps that are really malware. This has occurred several times in the past, though mostly with Android apps. It’s a lot more difficult to police Android apps due to the open nature of the architecture.

    I do believe that both Apple and Google provide oversight on what goes into their app stores. However, given the shear volume of new apps, I can’t believe that they can comprehensively test every app, leaving gaps that will allow less than honorable functionality to periodically slide in.

    Your recommendation is right on, especially with regards to how long the app has been available. All of these issues have been resolved quickly once it’s become known that there is a problem.

    Overall, I think the app stores are pretty good at addressing the issue, but are not a panacea and buyer/acquirer beware is still a good approach.

    Greg
    http://thefamilyhelpdesk.com

    • Gregg,
      Thanks for the excellent comment. I agree with what you say, except that the volume of new apps does not give them a valid excuse for not comprehensively testing every app. We’re talking about two mega million dollar companies here. If volume of apps is a problem, it’s because they haven’t chosen to properly resource/staff the testing function and/or they are being greedy and offering the apps for sale too soon.
      Best,
      Paul

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