Google yanks apps that could take over your phone

A reporter uses a cell phone to take a photograph of Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS being used on a Motorola Xoon tablet during a press event at Google headquarters on February 2, 2011 in Mountain View, California.

A malicious app can take several forms. Some of them will be apps for seemingly innocuous things, stuff like wallpaper, but then they'll find attempt to manipulate the user into giving a variety of permissions that give the app (and the app developer) more and more control of the device.

Then there are the apps that get installed and manage to "root" the device, essentially giving total control over it to someone on the outside. In that scenario, everything you do, from texting to online banking to phone calls to emails, can be monitored and recorded by someone else. That person can also send out messages, install new apps, do whatever they want.

We talk to Kevin Mahaffey of the security firm Lookout about how these bad guys are able to get into your phone.

We also talk with David Campbell of the security company Electric Alchemy. He points out the differences between Apple and Google in the way that apps are vetted for iPhone and Android. David says Apple inspects apps ahead of time and for the moment they seem to be the best platform for users concerned about security. But over the long term, he favors Android because the apps are easier to inspect and peer review will become stronger.

Also in this program, what you get when you follow Libya and Charlie Sheen on Twitter.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.
Log in to post2 Comments

lol, I just assumed that many of these apps already had these capabilities. As consumers of the latest and greatest gadgets we all must recognize that more and more everyday we invite strangers into our world and flirt with dangers associated with these intruders- welcome or unwelcome. Every time I glance navigation icon sitting at the top of my EVO screen I am reminded that Big Brother is watching. If you have a front camera on your phone take a look and say cheese! There is a good chance that somebody is watching you.

Thank goodness the biggest threat to my tracfone will only ever be the customer relations they have. Which fortunately has been quite across board honestly good for testing of patience. Other than that it's only my own conscientious consumption that could let me down.

With Generous Support From...