Google laid low for awhile after taking down several malicious apps were from the Android Market, perhaps buying some time coming up with the best way to explain what happened. And that's what Google did over the weekend, confirming in a blog post that it recently pulled several malware tainted apps from the Android Market "within minutes of becoming aware."
It was reported last week that Google pulled 21 apps infected with Trojans, but even though Google's response was swift, it's believed that the infected software was downloaded around 260,000 times. According to Google, the dirty apps took advantage of vulnerabilities only present in versions of Android lower than v2.2.2. So how bad was the damage?
"For affected devices, we believe that the only information the attacker(s) were able to gather was device-specific (IMEI/IMSI, unique codes which are used to identify mobile devices, and the version of Android running on your device)," Google said. "But given the nature of the exploits, the attacker(s) could access other data, which is why we've taken a number of steps to protect those who download a malicious application."
Those steps include removing the apps, suspending the offending developer, pushing an Android Market security update to affected devices, and "adding a number of measures to help prevent additional malicious applications using similar exploits from being distributed" in the future."
Google also said it's working with partners to fix the underlying security issues, but one of those might be the Android Market itself. In this case, all the banned developer did was re-purpose existing apps with dirty code and toss them back into the marketplace.