Google’s Android Market is apparently slowly transforming into the Typhoid Mary of the mobile world. In an effort to speed up development Google adopted a somewhat more liberal attitude to app vetting. Of course, after the fun part, the uglier side of promiscuity tends to rear its ugly face. According to Symantec, between 1 and 5 million users may be at risk. The insecurity outfit found that 13 apps on the market contain a free serving of Android Counterclank, a nasty Trojan designed to collect confidential information from Android devices.
The apps are no longer listed on the market, but the damage has already been done. The whole point of dropping restrictions on developers is to encourage small players to enter the market. However, if vetting is so weak as to allow such incidents, many users will simply start to shy away from anything offered by small developers, which sort of defeats the whole point.
You can find the list of affected apps at Symantec.