One of the most popular movie and TV genres in this country revolves around its frontier period. Up until the 70’s, most representations were quaint pieces that brimmed with childlike wonder at the infinite possibility and untapped resources of America’s West. When the genre that became known as “Westerns” matured (i.e. acquired ‘R’ ratings) with classics like “A Fistful of Dollars”, “The Outlaw Josie Wales” and later “Unforgiven”, more realistic portrayals of the West gave people a sense of the downside of “open”. Indiscriminate murders, human trafficking, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, random raping and pillaging – turns out that in ecosystems where you got to do whatever the fuck you wanted, people pretty much did whatever the fuck they wanted. Who knew?
So you can imagine TMA’s shock and horror (actually more of a shrug and “took long enough”) when he read that Android users who have been downloading free apps from a company named Myournetm – up to 200,000 of them – have been downloading “free as in freedom” malware to their devices right on Google’s own Android Marketplace. From the Android Police report:
“We asked our resident hacker to take a look at the code himself, and he’s verified it does indeed root the user’s device via rageagainstthecage or exploid. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: it does more than just yank IMEI and IMSI. There’s another APK hidden inside the code, and it steals nearly everything it can: product ID, model, partner (provider?), language, country, and userID. But that’s all child’s play; the true pièce de résistance is that it has the ability to download more code. In other words, there’s no way to know what the app does after it’s installed, and the possibilities are nearly endless.”
So these apps pull every piece of information that isn’t nailed down and have the ability to receive instructions for to-be-determined devastation. There must be a “price of freedom” joke in there somewhere. Thank god for the Android Police though. They would be the Google employees tirelessly monitoring app submissions to protect the users of their OS, right? Actually, the Android Police is the hobbyist website that reported the malware to Google after a reader “stumbled” across it. The good news is that Google pulled the apps 5 minutes after the malware was reported to them, so if you were one of the unfortunate 200,000 to download one of these apps – well I guess it doesn’t mean shit to you. You may, however, now have a couple of Russian brides carrying your Social Security number into the country as we speak. And I hear they’re sometimes attractive.