The Android operating system (OS) has been targeted by a program which steals personal photos and videos from mobile devices. The clandestine program has found a way to avoid being detected by Google Bouncer. To dodge the security scanner, the hackers have established a distant connection with the software. They decide when the program will attack. This technique has allowed the malware to make its way into the Google Play marketplace.
The research team of Symantec discovered this virus not long ago. The program hides behind the fake name Beaver Gang Counter. According to its description, the app is used to keep score for a popular card game. The researchers have discovered the real name of the program to be Android.Vibleaker. Social media app Viber is the target of the attacks. The spyware records the photos and videos from the user’s device. The gathered information is then sent to a remote server. The owners of the server can use your personal media as they see fit.
The Symantec Security Response team has explained the severity of the issue. Depending on the information you have stored into your mobile device, the consequences can vary. If you have taken a picture of your documents, you can be subjected to theft. The hackers can steal your identity or drain your financial accounts. Blackmail, fraud and unsolicited pornography are among the other threats.
Targeting Viber gives Android.Vibleaker the opportunity to collect data from a great number of people. The messenger has gained popularity among social media enthusiasts. Its apps have been praised by many. The Android version of Viber has over 500 million installs on Google Play alone.
Symantec explained why the technique of time-delayed attacks has proven to be the difference for the malware. “The command and control (C&C) server is queried to check if the media files should be collected,” they elaborated. The person who operates the program can enable and disable the malicious activity at will. This makes the corrupted code undetectable for security mechanisms like Google Play’s app-vetting service.
Hackers have discovered the capabilities of the time-delayed technique. Unlike a computer, a cyber environment only does an initial check of the data that enters. This allows programs like Beaver Gang Counter to secure a spot in reliable software distribution platforms. Once the malware circumvents the security check, it can remain on the platform until security experts discover its true nature and have it blacklisted.
Android.Vibleaker invades the privacy of more people than its predecessors. A lot of programs have recorded personal photos, videos and other media in the past. However, celebrities were the main target thus far. With the addition of spyware like this, ordinary people have to worry about their privacy being invaded.
Symantec were quick to warn Google about this malignant application and they reacted accordingly. Beaver Gang Counter has already been removed from the Google Play app store.
This threat may be gone, but it will not be the last. Symantec researchers shared their thoughts on the subject of online security: “As more and more of our work and personal lives move onto our smartphones, we’re seeing the emergence of new and greater risks to consumers. With increasing sophistication malware authors are taking advantage of the wealth of personal information travelling around in our pockets.”
Computer and mobile viruses work in the same manner. Thus, users should take the same precautions to protect themselves. When installing an application, you should look at the permission it asks for. To prevent losing data, be sure to have a backup. Since your attentiveness may not suffice to protect you from a clandestine threat, you should turn to built-in security properties. Always keep your applications updated and install a mobile security program.