Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:11

New Android spyware can steal data in many ways

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Android spyware that has a wide range of functionality has been found by the security firm Kaspersky Lab, which likens it to the wares of Italian company Hacking Team that suffered a major data breach in 2015.

The new spyware, dubbed Skygofree because this name was found in one of the domains listed in its source code, is believed to have been initially developed in 2014.

Thereafter, according to Kaspersky, its functionality has improved. "...remarkable new features (have been) implemented, such as the ability to record audio surroundings via the microphone when an infected device is in a specified location; the stealing of WhatsApp messages via Accessibility Services; and the ability to connect an infected device to Wi-Fi networks controlled by cyber criminals", the company said.

The spyware is spread from websites which host it. "We observed many Web landing pages that mimic the sites of mobile operators and which are used to spread the Android implants," Kaspersky said. "These domains have been registered by the attackers since 2015."

The code and functionality were observed to have changed numerous times, Kaspersky said, noting that that latest version was signed with a certificate valid from 14 September 2017.

The care taken in the coding was reflected in the fact that Skygofree was able to add itself to a list of protected apps on Huawei devices; such apps do not stop working even when the screen is off.

"Given the many artifacts we discovered in the malware code, as well as infrastructure analysis, we are pretty confident that the developer of the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that works on surveillance solutions, just like Hacking Team," Kaspersky noted.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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