Russia’s Kaspersky Lab Detects High-end Android Spyware ‘skygofree.’

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Oindrila Banerjee
Oindrila Banerjee
A English Literature student, love reading books, love literature and history, and enthusiastic about travelling. She likes to read random pieces of information and like watching films. She likes how refreshing it is to learn something new everyday. Her goal is to earn enough to take a trip round the globe.

In a shocking new development, Russia’s Kaspersky Lab has detected a high-end malware, ‘ Skygofree ’, which can attack any Android device. The malware, detected in late 2017, has been in use since 2014, claims Kaspersky. It started off as a minor Android malware, but over the years, it has continuously added to its disruptive capabilities to become high-end spyware.

Kaspersky lists the things that the Skygofree spyware is capable of, and the list is quite shocking! To begin with, the Trojan makes its way into the users’ device by disguising itself as an update that promises the user faster internet speed when the user opens fake mobile operator websites. When the user downloads the supposed update, a notification pop-up informs the user that the setup is in progress, conceals itself, and requests further instructions from the command server. Once it infects a device, the spyware can perform multiple functions on it, including reading the user’s social media messages, recording audio when the user is in certain specific locations, and taking the user’s pictures with the front camera when the user unlocks the infected device.

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If that is not scary enough, the spyware can enable the WiFi on an infected device, even after the user has disabled WiFi, and connect it to a network controlled by the hackers, which allows them to collect and analyze the victim’s traffic, which includes passwords, credit card details, and logins. The Android spyware Skygofree can operate even when the device is in standby mode by listing itself as a favorite app.

So far, the spyware’s activity has been limited within Italy, and the following is what Alexey First, Kaspersky lab malware analyst, has to say about it:

“Given the artefacts 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 Hacking Team.”

This does not, however, mean that Android users outside Italy can feel safe. As protective measures, Kaspersky has suggested Android users to avoid installing apps from unknown or third-party sources and use reliable security solutions on their devices.

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