Popular Google Play apps are hacked, secretly mining Bitcoins, Dogecoins, and Litecoins

Every time I read about Android and malware like this, I shudder at the though of bringing an Android phone or tablet into my universe. I know Android is popular, but I just can’t get my head around why people seem not to care about this problem. Am I missing something?

Read the article for all the details. [Via BGR]

  • Michael

    Same reason nobody cares about NSA spying, Google mining their email for targeted ads, and generally password security…..laziness and apathy.

  • JohnDoey

    It’s not that they don’t care — they don’t know.

    If you invite Mike Holmes to inspect your house, he will likely find 10 problems, 2 or 3 of which will be severe. He will think, how can anybody live in a house that is about to burn down from bad electrical wiring or a blocked chimney? He knows about those potential problems. But you, the typical home owner, you don’t know the 1000 ways a house can fail you. You are at the mercy of a bunch of horrible technology. The builder of your house likely substituted the cheapest components at the last minute to eke out a little more profit, tested nothing, and left the future owner a bunch of headaches that they don’t know how to diagnose or even comprehend. And shouldn’t have to.

    It’s the same with cheap generic phones. People who bought a Motorola RAZR 10 years ago are now buying something that looks like an iPhone. That’s the end of their phone knowledge. They don’t know the generic phone they are getting can fail you in 10 times as many ways as an iPhone. They don’t know the phone they are getting can only do 10% of the things an iPhone can do. It looks like an iPhone and it was free with contract. End of story.

    For years I had to defend spending a little extra money to buy a Mac. People would tell me I’m paying a lot of money for pretty aluminum or titanium and I would tell them honestly, “I don’t give a flying fuck what this Mac looks like — I buy Macs because they are reliable and they are the best tool for the jobs I do. Period.” But not everybody understands that the actual insides (including the software) of a Mac or PC are radically different. Same with iPhone and Android phones. That is why generic makers go to such lengths to make their products as exactly like Apple products as they can get away with. The ENTIRE sales pitch for a generic PC or phone is, “this is the same as the Apple product, only you pay less.” It is easy to fall for that when every single notebook looks like MacBook Air and every single phone looks like iPhone. Then they take the generic product home, and whatever problems they have, they assume those are industry-wide problems that iPhone also has.

    That is why Apple made stores. So that people who have generic clones of Apple gear at home can come into the store and feel almost like they also own a Mac and iPhone as well as their generic devices. Then they compare. People seem to only learn this lesson by comparing the devices. If you tell them the Apple devices share maybe only 1% of their components with an Android phone (probably less when you consider that by far, most of the iPhone is software) people simply won’t believe it.

    I have a friend who just asked me to help him shop for his first iPad, and I asked him, “why do you want an iPad?“ By which I meant, what are you going to do with it? But he answered, “I have 5 Windows PC’s and right now none of them works.” He just wanted Web and email and Netflix that is reliable from day-to-day. The reason he felt iPad was a solution to his problem was he noticed that his wife’s Mac and his daughter’s iPad were always working. He had to see that comparison with his own eyes and then he got it.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    They don’t care because it’s Google and not Apple. Google can do no wrong, while Apple can only do wrong.

  • John

    People generally don’t care about their own security as long as things are convenient and cheap. Even if they are technically savvy. A couple of examples:

    Qantas Airlines (used to live there) doesn’t secure it’s customer information. Try it yourself, go to their website and try booking through to the step where you enter customer information. No SSL. They only secure their payment information page. Checkin is the same, boarding passes and customer itineraries sent in the clear. Qantas knows and doesn’t care. People I know who fly with them don’t care. Customers care more about the cost of the flight and getting status for things like lounges and upgrades.

    The Obama administration doesn’t care about violating people’s privacy. The majority of people care more about on the Maylasian airline disappearance since they have an emotional response to it. Security violations rarely affect them personally so it’s an abstract worry. The neighbor’s dog barking at 2 AM bugs them more so they react to that. The only reason that Obama is looking at scaling back even a little on the massive collection of data is because big tech companies who contribute heavily to their campaigns are beating them up. They are the only one’s who really care because it affects business, pure and simple.

  • lukasz

    “I shudder at the though…”. I think we miss something here:)

  • Android seems to be especially popular with engineer types and Libertarians who hate all things Apple on principle. (Check out the comments on the Dilbert cartoons some time when Scott Adams wanders into that territory.) I know some extremely intelligent people who have Android phones. I’m sure they know about the malware but just figure they’re smart enough to not get bit by it. But they’re a small percentage of Android users. I agree with Michael on the excuse for the rest of the users: laziness and apathy. Although I’d also add ignorance.

  • We don’t care because less than 1% off apps from the store are possible viruses. It’s not too much higher than iOS.

    • John

      Wrong stat. Looking at Alcatel Lucent’s recent study of mobile network infections, Android accounts for 60% and Windows laptops tethered/connected account for about 40%. iOS and Blackberry account for less than 1%.

      • So the store providing the apps was wrong in saying .07%?

        Link to your study, please.

        • John

          Here’s the BGR story about it: http://bgr.com/2014/01/29/mobile-malware-study-alcatel-lucent/

          It could be .07% but that’s immaterial. It’s the number of devices infected that matters. For personal use, it’s your risk and you’re probably a fairly smart person who understands how to avoid infections. The Google Play store is only one source of apps. Side loading by more naive and trusting users is a more common attack vector.

          • Oh nah, if you start side loading then you’re open to anything. It is then the same as installing on Windows or Mac [anything goes].

            That’s why I don’t sweat those folks because they are not the norm. Many don’t even know how to turn off the default protection against it.