At least 11 Android apps contain malware that is rigged to automatically send text messages from your Google Android smartphone to phone numbers in China.
The apps, which include iBook, iCartoon, iGuide, iCalendar, LoveBaby and Sea Ball, are embedded with malicious code that covertly sends text messages to three different premium-rate numbers without their knowledge or approval.
The texts then sign the victims up for paid subscription services, according to AegisLab, the Taiwanese security firm that discovered the corrupt apps.
Google has removed the offending apps, published by "zsone," from the official Android Market, but researchers at the security firm Kaspersky Lab said it's possible the malware, classified as a Trojan because it hides inside software, affects more than the 11 apps AegisLab found.
If so, this would be the latest example in a string of recent Android security slip-ups.
On Tuesday (May 10), the IT company Juniper Networks released a paper that found that malware specifically targeting Android devices has jumped 400 percent since last summer.
In late April, amid the publicity about Apple tracking users locations on their iPhones, it turns out Google does the same thing with its Android customers.
Another April blunder: Skype's Android app was found to contain a security flaw that could be exploited to give hackers access to users' names, email and home addresses and phone numbers.
One from late March: Android.Walkinwat, a pirated copy of Android's legitimate Walk and Text app, harvested users' sensitive data and sent it to an external server.
The real problems, however, really began in early March, when more than 50 free Android apps were found to harbor DroidDream, a particularly nasty Trojan that could steal sensitive data from phones and download malicious code to phones from remote servers.
Coupled with these dangerous Android apps — and the realization that Google may not have as much control over its Android App market as it would like — is the fact that even though smartphone technology and connectivity is increasing, users aren't keeping pace on the security side.
Juniper's paper showed that the "vast majority" of smartphone users — not just Android owners — don't have any antivirus software on their phones, and don't stop to check whether the apps they download come from legitimate sources.