Beware Fake Google Security Tool

Dennis Faas's picture

Security firm Symantec says it's found a new and very fake Google "security program" designed to install malware on Google Android smartphones. Called the Android Market Security Tool, the fake software is actually a repackaged Google-built tool with origins in the Far East.

Symantec discovered the fake tool last Wednesday. It actually imitates a program of the same name released by Google last week and was found in Chinese markets not sanctioned by the search giant. (Source:

Fake Security Software a Clever Ploy by Malware Designers

Symantec says it's all a very mischievous ploy by malware designers to ride on the coattails of legitimate anti-malware programs.

"What we're seeing is fairly clever malware writers riding the wake of the wave of the publicity from the malware removal tool," said Joe Chen, Symantec's Security Response Unit director of engineering.

The purpose of the original Android Market Security Tool (that actually released by Google) is to help users whose smartphones had been infected by malware through the Andoid Market remove such problems from their devices.

The fake Google tool has been referred to by several names, including DroidDream, RootCager, and myournet, and was available via Android Market for about four days before being removed by Google. An estimated 50,000 to 200,000 Android users said to have been infected by malicious applications.

Critics Question Android's Open Design

Critics have asked whether all of these problems are a direct result of Google's decision to make app design an open process. Believers in stricter, more proprietary systems like Apple's iOS (operating system) say this kind of thing can only be expected when users are allowed to tinker freely with their mobile operating system.

However, Symantec says these latest threats to Android smartphones are not particularly demonstrative of the wider Android Market experience.

This is "more of an exception than the norm," Chen said, adding "The chance of you getting malicious code installed on your Android via a channel that is not officially supported by Google is much, much higher." (Source:

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