Science

'SonicSpy' Android spyware found in Play Store

'SonicSpy' Android spyware found in Play Storeā€

It has infected more than 1,000 additional apps hosted at third-party Android app stores.

Of the large number of spyware apps, believed to have come out of Iraq, at least three versions of the malware have appeared in the Play Store in the last six months, according to mobile security company Lookout.

In an email to Ars Technica, Lookout researcher Michael Flossman said that the apps might also be distributed through direct phishing texts with download links, or through non-Google app markets. The group of apps, collectively tagged as SonicSpy, has the ability to record calls and audio, send text messages, and steal contacts and logs.

Soniac, for one, was a customized messenger.

Once installed, the apps will make themselves as invisible as possible, removing their respective launcher icons from the home screen and menu while they establish an initial connection and setup with the remote server that issues their commands.

Researchers have noticed that much of what is known about SonicSpy resembles another strain of malicious apps dubbed SpyNote, which first surfaced in mid-2016. Even if some rumors stated that it might take a while until the feature will be visible for the users, at the moment the Google Play Protect is available on Google Play Store. The developer rebranded the resulting apps with names including Soniac, Hulk Messenger, and (in an apparent bit of humor) Troy Chat. It's built by inserting spy functions into the public source code of Telegram messaging app. Soniac developers were listed as iraqwebservice and Lookout is inspecting these hints more closely.

Anyone who installs the compromised apps will find they have full messaging functionality.



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