Lookout Security Finds New Android Trojan

Sue Marquette Poremba
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Smartphone Security: Alarming Complacency Among Mobile Users

Most consumers are unaware of the security risks associated with their smartphones.

Lookout Security found a new Android Trojan, "LeNa," which is a new variant of the Legacy malware. According to the Lookout blog, LeNa works this way:

Unlike its predecessors, LeNa does not come with an exploit to root the device, rather it requests privileged access on a pre-rooted device. ... Once on a user's device, the Trojan takes a different tactic than previously seen to infect and launch the malware. LeNa hides itself inside an application that is native to the device (an ELF Binary). ... In essence LeNa trojanizes the phone's system processes, latching itself onto an application that is native to the device and critical to making the phone function properly.

One thing I think is important to point out about this new piece of malware is that it was found in the Android Market and promptly removed by Google after it was found. It is not impossible for an infected app to find its way into the Android Market, or any official app marketplace for that matter, but the official markets do tend to be safer than alternative app markets. In fact, the folks at Lookout told me that Legacy malware was only found on those alternative market sites in the past.

 

As we get closer to 2012 and security vendors begin releasing their threat predictions for the new year, I thoroughly expect mobile malware to be at the top of the list of increasing threats. Mobile threats are real and they are here to stay. And this comes when more and more employees will be using their personal devices for work. As Jack Walsh, network IPS program manager at ICSA Labs, told me:

Companies therefore must have security systems and policies in place to safeguard their business environment and prevent access to company networks from employees' personal devices. Employ security policies to protect employer-issued devices. Employers should enforce password-based access and require voice mail codes so that only authorized users can access data on employer-issued devices.

And most importantly, whether the device is personally owned, work distributed, or used for both, it is vital to download the same kind of protections for your device as you would your regular work computer. It sounds so obvious, I know, but it amazes me how many people don't bother to protect their phones.



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