Last year, researchers found what at the time was quite possibly the world’s most sophisticated espionage app ever written for the Android mobile operating system. Now, in a discovery that underscores the growing arms race among competing malware developers, researchers have uncovered a new Android spying platform that includes location-based audio recording and other features that have never been seen in the wild before.
According to a report published Tuesday by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, “Skygofree” is most likely an offensive security product sold by an Italy-based IT company that markets various surveillance wares. With 48 different commands in its latest version, the malware has undergone continuous development since its creation in late 2014. It relies on five separate exploits to gain privileged root access that allows it to bypass key Android security measures. Skygofree is capable of taking pictures, capturing video, and seizing call records, text messages, geolocation data, calendar events, and business-related information stored in device memory.
Skygofree is a reminder that so-called implant software sold to governments and police forces, sometimes in countries with poor human rights records, remains a threat to people using a wide variety of devices and operating systems. Users who think they’re likely to be targets should always pay close attention to website addresses they visit and when possible install software only from official app stores, and then only after careful research.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht