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Pre-installed malware turns up on new phones

Jeremy Kirk | March 5, 2014

Samsung spokeswoman Jessica Baker said in an email that "if there is a fake Netflix app on the devices, it is something that was not preloaded by Samsung or U.S. carrier partners." Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said the company did not have a comment.

The fake app was also found on three Motorola Mobility devices, the Droid Razr, Droid 4 and Droid Bionic; two Asus tablets, the Eee Pad Transformer TF101 and the Memo Pad Smart MT301; and on LG Electronics' Nexus 5 phone. Those companies didn't respond to a queries asking for comment.

Jevans said it's not Netflix's fault, as the company is just an attractive target for cybercriminals. At least four different fake versions of Netflix were found by Marble's analysts, some of which were a modified clone of the real application.

Ideally, an application's hash — a mathematical calculation of the exact size of the program — should be compared to that of the legitimate application before it is installed at a factory, Jevans said. If those figures are different, it may signal a fake.

Also, the application's security certificate should be checked to ensure it is not self-signed, a trick that some malware writers use to make their software look more legitimate.

"People aren't checking the apps that are on these things," Jevans said.

 

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