A fake Netflix app has been discovered by cyber-security experts, which can take over your device and spy on you. The device gives strangers access to your phone’s camera, microphone and messages so they have access to your life – potentially allowing them to take nude photos and listen to your conversations.
The creepy app for Android was discovered by cyber-security experts, Zscaler, who describe it as ‘a well-crafted piece of spyware we’re calling SpyNote RAT.’ The fake app is downloaded from an unofficial source, rather than from the Google Play Store. It uses a piece of software called a trojan, which sneaks onto devices disguised as an app. The importance of downloading apps only from the Google Play Store cannot be stressed further as apps downloaded from untrustworthy locations have a higher risk of containing malware such as this fake Netflix app.
Once installed, the app shows you what looks like a login password pair generator, but that’s just a distraction; it’s actually busy encrypting your data. Once it’s finished with that, up pops a ransom note. When the user clicks on the icon for the first time it disappears from the homescreen and nothing else seems to happen, a trick commonly used by mobile malware. In the background, however, the malware starts preparing its onslaught of attacks.
Additionally, the malware can uninstall apps from the infected device (such as antivirus protections), was designed to function only over Wi-Fi (to avoid raising suspicion), and can even click photos, the security researchers say. SpyNote RAT also collects the device’s location to identify the exact location of the victim, and packs various data exfiltration capabilities. Once the device is infected, hackers can activate the microphone and listen in to live conversations. They can also control the device themselves, copying files from the device to a Command and Control centre.
To stay protected, users should refrain from installing applications via third-party app stores or to side-load them, especially if they are games that haven’t yet been released on Android, such as Super Mario Run or Pokemon GO. You should also avoid the temptation to play games from sources other than legitimate app stores; such games are not safe and may bring harm to your reputation and your personal information.
If you have any security concerns, whether on mobile, your PC or for your organisation, get in touch with us now to assess your IT security options. Call us on 1300 768 779, email us at email@example.com, fill out the web form, or have a Live Chat with us below.