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An Android app that purported to enable wallpaper downloads has illicitly harvested data from millions of users around the world, representing a serious security breach for Google's platform.

The app smuggles browsing history, contact details, SMS archives and user passwords from the users smartphone to a cybercriminal's website that operates out of China, according to mobile data security firm Lookout.

The experts revealed the existence of this malicious application during a conference in the US and because the app was free to download and offered unlimited customised wallpapers to its user, it was a very popular option on the Android Market.

Exact figures for downloads are not known, but it could be on between one and five million Android smartphones, according to Lookout.

The firm has highlighted this particular security breach as an example of how cybercriminals can exploit mobile application download services in order to spread malicious software and steal private information from unsuspecting users.

It said that manufacturers would need to place more stringent safeguards over their app acceptance process in order to prevent further problems.

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