Technology

Kaspersky reveals 'most advanced' Android spyware

Kaspersky reveals 'most advanced' Android spyware

The malicious software (malware), known as Skygofree, affects Android handsets and can track the device's location, turn on audio recording, surreptitiously take photographs and steal messages through Accessibility Services - giving hackers full control of your device.

Some of Skygofree's capabilities include tracking the location of an infected device and switching on a microphone to record audio when a person enters a certain place.

The implant carries multiple exploits for root access and is also capable of taking pictures and videos, seizing call records, SMS, geolocation, calendar events and business-related information stored in the device's memory.

It may have hit the internet in 2015, but Kaspersky Lab says its code indicates that Skygofree had been in development since 2014.

Although Kaspersky has refrained from laying blame, researchers did find links to Rome-based technology company Negg, one of a nest of software vendors in Italy that specialise in legal hacking tools, the most high-profile of which was Hacking Team. They add that they've identified several web landing pages that spread the implant by mimicking the pages of mobile operators.

The newly documented malware is roughly in the same league as Pegasus for Android, the companion app of Pegasus for iOS, which was discovered in August 2016 infecting the iPhone of a political dissident located in the United Arab Emirates. However, a new piece of Android malware is making the rounds, and it's loaded to the brim with sophisticated spying capabilities that have never been seen before.

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Kaspersky Lab which is a cyber security and antivirus provider company has recently warned the users about one of the most powerful android and Windows Malware called Skygofree.

The WhatsApp exploit is possible, the researchers say, by fooling the Android Accessibility options in order to capture information that's now displayed on the screen.

The researchers disclosed that they had discovered the Android spyware in October past year.

That's not to say the malware is ideal.

Researchers from Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Lab have found an Android spyware that has the ability to steal WhatsApp messages via Accessibility Services and connect an infected device to Wi-Fi networks controlled by cybercriminals. The campaign is ongoing, with the most recent domain registered in October 2017, the researchers said. The implant simply adds itself to the list of "protected apps" so it is not switched off automatically when the screen is off.

Kaspersky said the spyware, which it named "Skygofree" after a word found on one of its domains, appears to have been in development since the end of 2014. Targeted users might be redirected to these websites through man-in-the-middle techniques activated when they connect their devices to public or compromised Wi-Fi networks.


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