01 Feb 2012

Android malware attack spells greater trouble for Department of Defense

Google’s Android mobile operating system, currently the world’s best-selling mobile platform, boasts a third-party application market that prides itself on its openness, particularly compared to its primary competitor, Apple’s App Store in iTunes.

However, that freedom may have compromised the internet security of its users, after it was discovered that a Trojan horse spyware inflitrated between 1 and 5 million Android devices through one of 13 apps.

While some debate whether the code is of malicious intent or is just adware in “bad form,” the resulting debacle is cause for concern to the U.S. Department of Defense, which planned to finally approve access for Android devices to its secured Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet, starting this summer, at least before this latest virus threat.

The Pentagon was recently stung by an information security scare when keylogging software was detected in the programs governing the flight control of U.S. unmanned aerial drones in October. The virus removal proved difficult as the malware returned repeatedly. Previously, in 2009, the military uncovered hundreds of hours of hacked drone footage on the computers of Iraqi insurgents.