Phone-raiding Trojan slips past Apple’s App Store censors

Find And Call is actually Slurp, Stalk And Spam


A mobile Trojan that secretly sends the phone's whereabouts and its address book to spammers has slipped into Apple's App Store and Google's Play marketplace.

Called Find And Call, the malware includes a "find your friends" feature that uploads a user's phonebook contents to servers under the control of the application's authors. Victims are not asked to agree to this process, which is not covered either by the program's terms of service nor the end-user licence agreement (EULA), according to security researchers at Kaspersky Lab.

Denis Maslennikov, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky, reports that the application also logs and uploads a phone's GPS coordinates. Kaspersky began investigating the app following a request by Russian mobile network MegaFon, which initially suspected it was an SMS-sending Trojan.

The Find And Call server sends text messages to numbers lifted from the infected smartphones' contacts lists, encouraging recipients to follow a link and try out the application. This behaviour separates the malware from regular SMS nasties that send spam from the actual handsets.

The app is mostly likely the first piece of malware to make it past Apple's censors and reviewers and onto the App Store in the shop's five years of operation - provided you discount a proof-of-concept program developed and released by white hat hacker Charlie Miller last year.

Malware turning up on Google's official Android software marketplace Google Play is more common due to the store's relaxed rules. The Chocolate Factory released a virus scanner called Bouncer, which is designed to weed out undesirable applications, back in February. By June researchers John Oberheide and (that man again) Charlie Miller had uncovered shortcomings in the detection engine.

Russian blog AppleInsider.ru got in touch with the developers of Find And Call via its tech support. The programmers claimed the SMS-sending feature (which has unsurprisingly drawn a number of complaints) was a bug. The developers are Russian speakers and the app is targeted at the Russian market, but payment for the application is routed via a Singapore-based firm.

Both Apple and Google pulled the application from their respective marketplaces on Thursday. Meanwhile Kaspersky Lab has added detection for both flavours of Find and Call to its mobile security products as Trojan-AndroidOS-Fidall-A and Trojan-iPhoneOS-Fidall-A, respectively. ®

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