Have a good, close look at the image above.  That's how the latest piece of malware will be trying to trick you into installing it -- by trying to get you to believe you're at the Android Market.  The malware is called GGTracker, and it will try to sign you up for premium text messaging, leading to extra charges on your cell phone bill.

The people over at Lookout came across it, and wanted to be sure we all share the not-so-good news about how this one operates.  It happens when you click a malicious in-app advertisement -- your browser opens to the URL in the image, looking just like the Market, in hopes that you'll install the fake (in this case a Battery Saver app) application.  Also spotted was a version that claims to be an adult app (  After you click to install it, you're directed to install via the download notification.  For now, it doesn't appear that this one is in the Android Market -- which means it might stay around for a while.

There are three easy ways to prevent this:

  1. Disable sideloading completely (or use AT&T as your carrier -- zing!)
  2. Use Lookout premium's Safe Browsing feature
  3. Pay attention to what's happening.  The Android Market will never open in your browser.  You'll also never be prompted to manually download an app from the Android Market.

This may be a no-brainer to many of us, but be sure to make your not-so-Android-savvy friends and family know.  This comes with the territory folks.  Combine popularity with the ability to install any apps you like, and there's bound to be an ^&$#*@! or two out there.  It's no fun for anyone, but I'll still take it over the alternative.

Source: Lookout blog


Reader comments

New GGTracker Trojan imitates Android Market to lure you in


Android is becoming just like Windows computers. Luckily anyone with half a brain should be safe from all these trojans.

Same here. This is why I not only don't click on ads, but block them all together. I know that app devs want me to click on they're in app ads, and I'm all for supporting developers, but not at the cost of my security.

Or, just disable premium SMS on your carrier. If you're not using it right now for anything, remove it completely. (it should be free to do this)

What are the chances that this virus is a plant by Lookout? A surreptitious "advertising" campaign.

Don't get me wrong...I own a premium copy of Lookout on my Droid. But the timing of this discovery (just days after Lookout announces Safe Browsing) is suspicious.

I know in the PC world anti-virus companies have been known to pull off stunts like this.

I'm not trying to point out fingers.....but who "discovered" the virus?? Lookout app? Haaaaa.....I wonder who is responsible for the trojan virus..haaaaaaa

The AT&T zing does not apply anymore since they officially support side loading (as was actually reported by this site!).

Just so you guys know there is a difference between Mal-Ware and a Virus. This is not a virus. This is Mal-Ware. Our phones are Linux based machines. They [Linux] have not had a virus outbreak since they've been publicly open. Once someone sees a security flaw it's closed up tight. Why do you think ROM developers and Google are constantly pushing updates to our phones.

I'm glad you guys pointed this out to the public masses. It' helps keep people safe. But in the long run. virus this is not, but rather a malware.

Lately the Android news has been troubling. Oracle seems ready to make Google pay in its copyright infringement lawsuit, analysts are saying Android's share of US smartphone market is about to start sliding, Android tablet makers can't compete with the iPad and are reducing outlook and shifting to larger phones instead, Samsung is about to lose to Apple in the copycat lawsuit and the spat of malware lately. Combined with half baked product releases, buggy Honeycomb release and crappy user experience, Android's reputation is being shaped to mimick Windows. Seems to me Google won't be able to maintain this open and free OS platform much longer. Apple wins.

Half-baked products, buggy Honeycomb release and crappy user experience?

Dude, we can all spot an Apple fanboy when we read one.

Don't you realize that if "Apple wins" we all lose. Some of us are more than willing to tolerate the growing pains necessary for an open OS to mature and progress. The trade-off is a growing market of devices and applications that aren't handed down by The Wonderful Wizard of Cupertino. Upgradeable, interchangeable,expandable and affordable are properties Apple has always eschewed.

Your Android/Windows analogy may be quite apropos, however, but probably not in the way you intended. If Apple continues it's once-a-year unveiling of expensive, proprietary gadgets the market will certainly respond.

Android may then mimic Windows (circa late 1980's) compared to Apple's single-digit market share.

Apple fanboyism is irrelevant in this case. My point is, with the way things are currently going for Google, free and open may have to change to the Apple integrated model for Android to avoid the stigma that is Windows.

The only thing we'll lose if Apple wins is the malware, fragmentation, crappy software, half baked hardware and most importantly users wasting hard earned money on unfinished beta products being passed off with a promise of future improvements. WTF! Are you kidding me! The Apple fanboys are laughing at you if you don't see what's wrong with that mindset. The only thing that's open in that ecosystem is your wallet. To me that model is a rip off for consumers. Why not give them a finished product out the door the first time? This is something Google has never delivered. The whole Android platform is a perpetual beta!

If you insist of on bringing up PC Marketshare, keep in mind the Mac's minuscule marketshare represents more profit for Apple than for PC makers such as Dell and HP whose margins are razor thin. Macs rule the premium PC market. As for the iPhone and Marketshare, the same applies, but this time the price is the same as the competition and even, dare I say, cheaper in the case of the iPad. We all know that story by now. People are tripping over themselves to get iPhones and iPads despite the annual upgrade and that won't change anytime soon. .

MicroSoft seemed to have learned from its Windows mistakes and has chosen to copy Apple's curated app store model for Windows phone 7. Google may follow in the near future and that's what I meant by Apple wins. I wasn't referring to marketshare.

You would have had a better chance being right if your "Apple wins" HAD referred to market share. Technically you would have still been wrong, but at least there is a better chance Apple wins market share back than there is Google adopts the closed store model.

You think this article is actually troubling? Like any fan of Android reads this warning and thinks, "oh no, Google's got to do something!"

Apple has and always will be the better choice for the ignorant who walked into traps all the time on Windows machines. The same applies in the world of smartphones. Any fan of Android already understands the dangers implicit to an open model and gladly accepts the tradeoffs that come with an open model to the iTunes-down-your-throat model that Apple has.

And for the record, Microsoft is actually blending the two strategies of Apple and Google. They are making a much more closed smartphone OS but it is being licensed to a number of different devices and MS is not planning on cracking down on "rooters." In fact, they don't even seem to be discouraging. Microsoft is too late, but their model is actually almost the best of both worlds.