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updated 1/17/2011 10:25:33 AM ET 2011-01-17T15:25:33

The Chinese government is putting a stop to "money-sucking" Android phones that steal money from their owners' accounts.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice on Wednesday (Jan. 12) stating that government and telecommunication companies were putting new measures into place to prohibit the sale of devices that are pre-installed with Trojans used to cipher customer' money.

The rogue phones – they often bear forged logos, or none at all -- make secret silent calls and send out hidden text messages, but infrequently enough that the scam usually remains inconspicuous to the user. Over time, the calls and texts rack up fees for the phone maker, who reaps the rewards, said The Register’s Bill Ray.

"The amounts are small, but the idea is to collect it over a long period, enabling the handset to be sold very cheaply and thus feeding a virtuous circle that benefits everyone – except the poor sap who thought he was getting a cheap Android handset," Ray said.

China’s plan is to establish a central office to field and manage complaints from victims, and to enforce stricter regulations on phone makers, ensuring they go through the appropriate permit, supervision and inspection processes when obtaining and selling software and mobile devices.

Android and China have had a tenuous relationship as of late. In July 2010, Lookout Mobile Security demonstrated how an attacker could gain complete control of an Android-based device by hacking the popular Jackeey Wallpaper app.

And in late December, Lookout Mobile Security discovered “Gemini,” an Android-based Trojan found on apps that was capable of stealing personal data and sending it to remote servers.

 

 

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