Are you one off the 33% of all mobile phones running the Android operating system? The official Android Market is run by Google and there are over 150,000 applications with an estimated 3.7 billion downloads. More than 250,000 applications have been downloaded with a malicious virus.
The LA Times reports “Google is remotely removing virus-infected Android apps from thousands of phones and tablets in its continuing cleanup of what has become known as the “Droid Dream” scare. Last Tuesday, Google removed 21 free apps that were hacked and loaded with malware, and then distributed on the company’s Android Marketplace.”
Newer reports say more than 50 apps have been infected and removed.
From Google’s blog: “For affected devices, we believe that the only information the attacker(s) were able to gather was device-specific (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device). But given the nature of the exploits, the attacker(s) could access other data.”
In response Google is remotely removing the malicious applications from affected devices. This remote application removal feature is one of many security controls the Android team can use to help protect users from malicious applications.
You may be consider this a violation of your privacy that Google can just go into your phone like that, but, first, you agreed to it in their terms and conditions and second they are doing you a service and protecting you from a potential identity theft situation.
Google is sending out emails to all those affected and sending notification via the device itself to let you know what has happened.
If you are unsure if your phone was infected or simply want to be safe, I’d suggest backing up your phones data and re-install the operating system. Contact your carrier or visit your phones manufacturer for instructions.