‘Skygofree’ spyware can steal your Android’s WhatsApp data

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Gone are the days when the scariest digital security vulnerabilities were found on Microsoft Windows. This week, Kaspersky has alerted the world to an Android spyware with “previously unseen” capabilities.

Scarier still is that the spyware, dubbed Skygofree, has been active for more than three years.

Skygofree is a sophisticated, multi-stage spyware that gives attackers full remote control of an infected device,” the company alerted in a press release.

“It has undergone continuous development since the first version was created at the end of 2014 and it now includes the ability to eavesdrop on surrounding conversations and noise when an infected device enters a specified location — a feature that has not previously been seen in the wild.”

Worse still is its ability to steal WhatsApp messages though Android’s accessibility features.

Skygofree spyware can snoop audio, location and even WhatsApp messages on Android devices

Overall, 48 different commands are available to execute by the attackers, Kaspersky explained.

At present, the spyware is primarily propagated through web pages disguised as mobile carrier bulletins. And while the Russian security company first noted a landing page carrying the spyware was registered in 2015, the latest registration was made in October 2017.

As for the spyware’s origin, Kaspersky’s malware and targeted attacks expert Alexey Firsh has a “high level of confidence that the developer behind the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that offers surveillance solutions.

He likened said developer to HackingTeam — another Italian developer that sells its intrusion and surveillance wares to governments.

Although Kaspersky found that all victims thus far have originated in Italy, it has also detected a strain of the spyware that attacks Windows machines.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t be too worried about Skygofree ruining your life, but as always, be sure to stick to trusted sources for install files, and refrain from tapping on dodgy links.

Feature image: Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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