Google has removed 37 'fan apps' from the Android Market having been warned about the risk that they are being used to send users' phone details to third parties, according to security firm Trend Micro.
The firm has been tracking the rise of fan apps – essentially knock offs, which mimic popular legitimate ones such as games – and uncovered the threat these apps pose to users.
Among the 37 found by Kervin Alintanahin, a threat analyst at Trend Micro, were ones that glean details of a phone's operating system, its International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), and phone number.
“The apps send sensitive information to particular remote servers,” Alintanahim explained on the company's blog.
The apps were also found to force users to promote its use via Facebook, giving it a rating on the Android Market as well as displaying adverts as notifications and creating shortcuts on the device's home screen.
Alintanahin said Trend had warned Google about the apps and that they have subsequently been removed from the Android Market.
He warned, though, that there remains a risk that the fan app developers will upload them to other Android app markets, which may be less vigilant in cracking down on rogue apps.
Last week, Juniper Networks reported a huge rise in the amount of malware aimed at the Android platform, and cited lax controls in some Android stores as a major factor in its spread.
Google had been approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.
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