This had to happen sooner or later. A virus has been discovered that can affect Android phones. It uses the conference call feature of the phone to send your conversations to a remote server (spying on your conversations).
The virus is reported to now be on over 150,000 phones. This is quite serious. There are also two strains of the virus now, indicating that people are working on making things worse for everyone.
This virus is called HongTouTou. It was discovered in an app called Dynamic Footprint Wallpaper, hosted on an app store in China. More information here.
How can a phone get a virus?
Android phones are smartphones, meaning the phone is actually a computer. And like any other computer you can download and install programs onto it, commonly called Apps.
Now the philosophy behind Android phones is that it’s less regulated than other phones, such as Apple’s iPhone, and you’re free to install any app you want. Even ones that contain viruses.
With Android phones you have a choice where to download your apps from. And unfortunately this included untrusted sources where people can add viruses to apps. It’s all very similar to Windows PCs and the popular viruses from a few years ago.
What about iPhones and other phones?
This particular virus only affects Android, not any other phones.
How to avoid HongTouTou?
For now the best thing to do is to only use app stores you trust. Don’t rush into downloading an app just because it’s popular or cool, read up on it first.