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Malware 'Skygofree' can steal WhatsApp messages from Android phones

Malware 'Skygofree' can steal WhatsApp messages from Android phones

Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the discovery of highly advanced surveillance software that it said can infiltrate Android mobile devices and gather "targeted" information without users' consent.

All of these are naturally fraught with risks for the device owner, but the ability to control the device's Wi-Fi is especially concerning, because it allows the criminals to connect it to a network they control and intercept all of your internet traffic including passwords and credit card numbers.

The malware, called Skygofree, has been in existence since 2014 and is now limited only to Italy. The activities continue: the most recently observed domain was registered on October 31, 2017.

In order to monitor apps like WhatsApp and Skype, Skygofree needs access to Accessibility Services, which requires the user's permission.

But researchers have also discovered Skygofree-related files suggesting the Android spyware might have payloads and variants for infecting Linux (Busybox) and Windows systems, albeit no such infections were identified.

Researches at Kapersky Labs say this malware has been around since 2014 and has been dubbed "SkyGoFree".

Skygofree is even capable of activating geofences that trigger audio recording once the infected device enters a certain area.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered multi-stage spyware it calls Skygofree that could give a cybercriminal full control of an infected device.

"Users are further advised to exercise caution when they receive emails from people or organizations they don't know, or with unexpected requests or attachments - and to always double-check the integrity and origin of websites before clicking on links", says Kaspersky Lab. It is also able to "grab a lot of exfiltrated data, like call records, text messages, geolocation, surrounding audio, calendar events, and other memory information stored on the device. Due to this feature, it is clear that the developers paid special attention to the work of the implant on Huawei devices", researchers wrote.

"Given the artifacts we discovered in the malware code and our analysis of the infrastructure, we have a high level of confidence that the developer behind the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that offers surveillance solutions, rather like HackingTeam", Firsh added.

Tracking the device's location, and record audio at specified locations.

Kaspersky found it was distributed through fake mobile operator websites disguised as an update to improve mobile internet speed, and has traced it to having infected several devices within Italy, with no known cases in the United Kingdom or elsewhere to date. This could be used to launch man-in-the-middle attacks against the victim by setting up a malicious hotspot nearby and redirecting the user to rogue websites.

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