Google discovers an Israel made Android App which can snoop on your phone calls, text messages and spy on you
Google has recently revealed that it has unearthed a new spyware that can track information of calls, messages and internet history as well as spy on people through their smartphones’ camera and microphone – making it possibly the most dangerous smartphone malware ever made.
Made by an Israeli Company
Researchers on the security front at Google and Lookout have come across the spyware that has the ability to spy on users by hacking their smartphones’ camera and microphone, as well as track calls, messages, internet history and more – christened Chrysaor. The spyware appears to have some link to Pegasus – a program that was known to be targeting iPhone users back in 2016. Pegasus was developed by an Israeli firm NSO Group technologies.
Google and Lookout announced their discoveries last week. The app is not available on the Google Play store. Yet, it has been detected on 36 devices – mainly in the country of Israel followed by Georgia, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya & others. NSO Group Technologies has been accused of developing Smartphone hacking software and selling them to spy agencies all across the world – as they did with Pegasus.
“To install Chrysaor, we believe an attacker coaxed specifically targeted individuals to download the malicious software onto their device,” said Google.
“Once Chrysaor is installed, a remote operator is able to surveil the victim’s activities on the device and within the vicinity, leveraging microphone, camera, data collection, and logging and tracking application activities on communication apps such as phone and SMS.”
Reason it has stayed hidden
Chrysaor has also been found to have a self-destruct mode. “If it feels like it’s going to be found, it removes itself,” said Lookout mobile security researcher Michael Flossman. This can explain why the researchers took so long to detect the malware. This could also mean that the spyware has been around for much longer than Pegasus and could’ve infected many more than the 36 devices currently known. Lookout and Google have acknowledged that though the samples are from 2014, there was evidence the spyware was still working on some victim Android phones when discovered in the last few months.
Though the probability that your smartphone might be infected with such malware is very small, it is still recommended to stay cautious. Do not install software from sources you don’t know about & always update your phone with the latest security patches.