A new cyber security threat has been detected by the researchers at the renowned security firm, Lookout. These malicious apps are capable to control your Android smartphone remotely and are being referred to as SonicSpy. The most annoying part of the Lookout discovery is, some of these apps even managed their way into the Google Play Store.
According to reports, researchers from the security firm identified more than a thousand such apps. The malicious apps were said to be deployed since February this year. As mentioned before, at least 3 of the malware, namely Troy Chat, Hulk Messenger and Soniac, even listed on the Google Play Store, bypassing the existing security firewalls. However, in a recent update, Google confirmed all the three apps have been removed from the Play Store.
— Kaspersky Lab (@kaspersky) August 11, 2017
A researcher in the Lookout research team was quoted to have said, “What’s commonly seen in all SonicSpy samples is that once they compromise a device they beacon to command and control servers and await for instructions from the operator who can issue one of seventy-three supported commands. The way this has been implemented is distinct across the entire SonicSpy family.”
Cyber security experts point out that SonicSpy displayed a lot of similarities with another set of malware called SpyNote, which was discovered last year. Apparently, Soniac is a customised messenger that acts like any standard messaging app. However, in the background, the app can make and receive calls, record audio, send text messages and even retrieve the logs and contacts of the users.
Discovery of SonicSpy again pointed out the Himalayan task that Google has to shoulder in fighting the malware apps. In fact, the search engine has already implemented a new strategy to identify and omit malicious apps from the Play Store. Unlike that in the past, it is now applying AI (Artificial Intelligence) to weed out all sorts of malware from public access. In spite of all such foolproof measures, some malware or the other are getting into the Play Store. In this circumstance, experts suggest everyone install any third-party apps with greater care and caution.