Android Market's instant app download a security threat, Sophos says

Android Market's instant-download feature for applications that customers buy has a flaw: It could open up Android devices to malicious downloads from attackers, according to security firm Sophos.

Learn more: Smackdown: Android Market vs. iPhone App Store

The problem is that when customers buy applications for their Android devices, they are downloaded to the devices right away - without the customer having to approve the actual installation of the software, Sophos virus researcher Vanja Svajcer says in a blog post. 

That could leave the device open to anyone who manages to steal its owner's Google password, says the security firm. "In summary," Svajcer says, "if someone managed to steal your Google password they could trick your Android smartphone into installing software, without you having to grant permission on the device itself."

The blog notes that when the applications are downloaded, it is done in the background, so customers would likely not be aware.

"The result of all this is that a Google password suddenly becomes even more valuable for potential attackers, and I would not be surprised to see even more Gmail phishing attacks as a consequence," Svajcer says.

Sophos recommends that Google change the procedure so customers have to approve the downloads. In the meantime, the company recommends that customers make sure they have strong passwords that are not easily guessable for their Google applications accounts.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareGooglesoftwareapplicationssophosanti-malware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?