by Graham Pierrepoint
Viruses and malware have grown more and more sophisticated over the years – and this certainly goes too for those which are designed and unleashed to attack cellphones, tablets and smart devices. Who would have known even ten years ago that we would be worrying about our phones coming under attack from the threat of malware? Such is the advancement of technology, so it seems – and there’s news this week that a particularly grim strain of Android virus could be heading its way towards users of popular free chat service WhatsApp, which in itself has seen a number of crashing issues over the past few years.
The malware in question has been given the name Skygofree – and its aim is to essentially provide a backdoor for hackers who wish to snoop in on phones and other devices. What occurs is – once a device has been successfully infected and has effectively fallen prey to the virus – it transforms the phone or tablet into a listening and recording device. Beyond this, and working in tandem with location services, it can give hackers the power to take photos, intercept call records and even seize WhatsApp conversations and messages that are unencrypted – which, when being sent from a device, they most certainly are – when being stored on a phone or tablet.
The malware has apparently been active for over four years now and was discovered by Kaspersky Lab – and it seems that the perpetrators behind the bug could be responsible for overseeing a level of cybersecurity in Italy – a firm known as Negg. Negg is known for providing certain tools to assist in investigations for legitimate purposes – but its CEO, Francesco Taccone, has advised ‘no comment’ to investigative media so far.
Mobile spyware and malware has never been more prevalent – and while certain devices such as those provided by Apple on iOS can withstand attacks to a certain extent, those using the open-source platform Android may find themselves particularly open to nasty attacks and bugs. This means it’s always worth making sure that your phones and tablets are protected. Just because they’re small, neat and may even be more powerful than your average PC, this doesn’t mean they’re going to be impervious to attacks. Take caution – stand well back and protect your Android as soon as you possibly can – and outstep these unwanted snoopers!