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Android Malware Apps Yanked By Google After Android Market 'Plankton' Outbreak

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Google has been forced to pull 10 more applications infected with malware from the Android Market, according to Computer World.

Security researchers discovered malicious code called "Plankton" which is capable of accessing a remote server to download even more files that could exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system of the phone. It can also collect data such as bookmarks and bookmark history from the phone's browser.

The apps pulled were each marketed as supplementary programs for the game "Angry Birds," though in actuality, they only functioned to let Plankton into the phone.

Susceptibility to malware has been a big problem for Google. In March, over 50 apps had to be pulled from the store in the wake of the DroidDream outbreak.

Researchers have also discovered a number of other bugs designed for Android apps, including "DroidKungFu" and "YZHCSMS." The latter sends secret text messages and leaves a nasty surprise on a user's phone bill.

Apple called Google out for these security issues in its dispute over the term "App store" with Amazon, which offers an Android App storefront. Part of the problem may be that Google's Android Market does not have a human being personally assess each app submitted to its store, the way Apple does.

"It takes a lot of time and experience to evaluate code," a researcher told Computer World. "There are ways to do it in an automated fashion, but you really need a bit of human feel [to evaluate] commands and their sequence to tell if something's malicious."

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