Rogue Android app sent personal info to legit version's developer, claims AVAST
Developer denies he created the app to humiliate pirates
Computerworld - A malicious Android app that shamed users for pirating software transmitted personal information to a URL controlled by the legitimate app's developer, a security company said today.
The developer of "Walk and Text," the app whose code was recompiled and re-released on numerous file-sharing sites, denied the claim by AVAST Software, an anti-virus firm based in Prague.
Walk and Text, which costs $1.54 to download from the official Android Market, uses the smartphone's camera to show what's in front of users as they simultaneously walk and text, theoretically preventing them from slamming into signposts or stepping off curbs into traffic.
The Trojanized version of the app includes malicious code that texts an embarrassing anti-piracy message to each contact in the phone's address book.
"Hey, just downlaoded [sic] a pirated App off the Internet," the message reads. "Walk and Text for Android. Im [sic] stupid and cheap, it costed [sic] only 1 buck. Don't steal like I did!"
The rogue app -- which Symantec yesterday named "Android.Walkinwat" and identified as a Trojan horse -- also pilfers personal data from the phone, including the phone number and the device's unique identifier, and sends it to a remote server.
According to AVAST, that data was sent to a URL controlled by Georgi Tanmazov, the CEO of Incorporate Apps, and the developer of Walk and Text, as well as other Android apps.
"It was very obvious that the information went to his URL," said Vincent Steckler, the CEO of AVAST in an interview Friday. "Was there something receiving the information? [Tanmazov] said there was not. But from what we could see, yes, there was something there receiving the information."
Tanmazov flatly denied that he created the malicious version of Walk and Text.
"AVAST has indeed claimed there is a link to our servers, but there was no such file on our servers, and logs could probably prove this," said Tanmazov in an e-mail interview, also on Friday. "There is also no personal information being saved on our servers and this could also easily be proven."
Steckler said that he has yet to see that proof, and called on Tanmazov to share his server logs.
When asked if he would share the logs, Tanmazov agreed, but said he wasn't sure that such logs exist.
"The Web site is on a really cheap shared server and they delete stuff after three days I think," he said. "You understand that if we do have logs those are text files that could be altered so this will also not prove anything."
AVAST and Tanmazov have been at odds for more than a week, when AVAST blogged about the malicious version of Walk and Text that researchers found on the Internet.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms As unprecedented numbers of enterprises build mobile applications, the mobile application development platform market continues to grow and evolve rapidly.
- The Total Economic Impact of IBM's Worklight Platform Mobile is the fastest growing consumer technology in history. As enterprises build apps to engage these new users they are facing increased complexity...
- Improve Your Mobile Application Security with IBM Worklight IBM® Worklight helps organizations extend their business across multiple mobile devices. It provides an open, comprehensive and advanced mobile application platform to help...
- Unlock the Value of Enterprise Mobility Download this guide and learn how to manage the secure deployment of enterprise mobile apps and data, while still encouraging the levels of...
- It's Chaos Out There Worried about your mobile apps? You should be; it's chaos out there. Check out this humorous video and see if you can recognize...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Mobile Apps White Papers | Webcasts