[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Are your apps spying on you?

When you install an app, you give it permission to do things on your device.

It’s so ubiquitous that most folks barely consider: how much privacy is being given away?

Is the risk real?

Mobile endpoint security firm Lookout has discovered that many apps spy on users more than expected.

Recent research has found over 1000 apps that contain a spyware element known as ‘SonicSpy’. This family of malware can:

  • Take photos with the device camera.
  • Silently record audio and send it to the attacker.
  • Access logs, contacts and Wi-Fi info.

Apps to avoid

Luckily, only three of the 1000+ infected apps made it onto Android’s official Play Store. All of those discovered were obscure messaging apps.

Two of the culprits—Hulk Messenger and Troy Chat—were apparently removed before Lookout’s discovery.

The third, Soniac, was still live when Lookout cracked the case.

Holy cow, what now

If security is a concern, stick to apps with a solid reputation and a long-term presence in the official app store/s. And consider reading the notifications when you activate a new app.

Details of the research are available on the Lookout blog.

Have you had first-hand experience with malware for mobile? Share your story in the comments.

Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based agency :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear.

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