Walk and Text look-alike targets app thieves

By Wailin Wong
Posted March 31 at 2:21 p.m.

Symantec Corp. said Thursday that it has detected a new kind of malware that targets Android mobile phone users who download illegal applications.

“Although this isn’t the first case of disciplinary justice being used as means to send a message against piracy, this is the first of its kind discovered on the mobile landscape,” Symantec said in a blog post.

The malicious program, known as Android.Walkinwat, appears to be a free version of Walk and Text, a legitimate Android app that costs $1.55 to download.

However, when the malicious app is run, it attempts to send sensitive information such as the user’s name and phone number to an external server, Symantec said. The program has a public shaming component as well, sending a text message to all of the phone’s contacts that reads: “Hey, just downlaoded (sic) a pirated App off the Internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im (sic) stupid and cheap, it costed (sic) only 1 buck. Don’t steal like I did!”

Then, to drive the lesson home, the user sees a screen saying “We really hope you learned something from this. Check your phone bill ;) Oh and dont (sic) forget to buy the App from the Market.”

The Android.Walkinwat program has been circulating on well-known file-sharing Web sites in North American and Asia, Symantec said. Its creators’ identities and location are unknown.

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