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updated 1/30/2012 6:19:56 PM ET 2012-01-30T23:19:56

A batch of corrupt Android apps once again has been found lurking in the official App Market, and up to 5 million customers have already put themselves at risk of losing their data at the hands of the Trojan-hosting apps.

Security software maker Symantec  identified 13 apps containing "Android.Counterclank," a Trojan that can silently steal device and user data, monitor phone calls, open up a backdoor on devices and act as part of a botnet, receiving malicious commands from a remote source.

The infected apps include spoofed versions of "Counter Elite Force," "CounterStrike Hit Enemy," "Hit Counter Terrorist," "Stripper Touch Girl," "Sexy Girls Puzzle," "Sexy Girls Photo Game" and "Deal & Be Millionaire," the last of which has been downloaded between 1 million and 5 million times in the past 30 days. The apps are from three developers: iApps7 Inc., Ogre Games and redmicapps.

"The combined download figures of all the malicious apps indicate that Android.Counterclank has the highest distribution of any malware identified so far this year," Symantec wrote.

Each rogue app with Counterclank hides its malicious code  in a package called "apperhand," which launches a service on the phone with the same name. Apperhand by itself is not malware, but rather an "aggressive form of ad network" that pushes unwanted advertisements to users' smartphones, according to Lookout Mobile Security.

"While this is not malware, we do think that consumers should take it seriously," Lookout  said in a company blog. Researchers added that the Counterclank apps cross "several privacy lines" and "go beyond the commonly accepted behavior of ad networks with more aggressive tactics."

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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