‘Israeli’ Android spy app designed to hack smartphones

Security researchers at Google and Lookout have discovered an extremely sophisticated Android app capable of spying on users by hacking their smartphone’s camera and microphone.

Called Chrysaor, the spyware seems to be linked to Pegasus, a notorious program found to be targeting iPhone users last year and is suspected of being created by Israeli firm NSO Group Technologies.

Google and Lookout announced the discovery of the spyware last week. The app which, was not available to download from Google Play, has been discovered on less than three dozen devices.

“A few [potentially harmful application] authors spend substantial effort, time, and money to create and install their harmful app on one or a very small number of devices,” said Google in a blog post. “This is known as a targeted attack.”

NSO Group Technologies has previously been accused of targeting human rights activist based in the Middle East with its Pegasus iOS malware and was possibly trying something similar with the Android version.

“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.”

The likelihood of being affected by such as spyware maybe small, however Google recommends users take precautionary measures such as installing apps only from reputable sources and keeping devices up-to-date with the latest security patches to protect themselves.

Source: Tribune News

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