An independent Internet security researcher is warning that there’s a serious flaw in Google’s Android cell phone operating system — centrepiece of the new G1 smart phone launched last week by T-Mobile in several major U.S. markets.

Researcher Charles Miller of Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), based in Baltimore, MD, says Android’s greatest strength may also be its Achilles heel: It apparently contains a flaw similar to that in full-scale computer operating systems making it vulnerable to the same kind of ‘social engineering’ attacks currently plaguing Internet-connected computer users.

Like non-mobile surfers, Android users could be lured to visiting booby-trapped Web sites that could clandestinely place the user’s cell phone under the control of criminals.

Miller notes that ISE has already alerted Google to the threat and Google is working with T-Mobile and other providers planning to provide Android-based phones to fix the problem.

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