Menu
New Android Trojan SpyNote leaks on underground forums

New Android Trojan SpyNote leaks on underground forums

Its free availability makes it likely that it will be used in attacks soon, researchers say

A new and potent Android Trojan has been leaked on several underground forums, making it available for free to less resourceful cybercriminals who are now likely to use it in attacks.

The Trojan app is called SpyNote and allows hackers to steal users' messages and contacts, listen in on their calls, record audio using the device's built-in microphone, control the device camera, make rogue calls and more.

According to researchers from Palo Alto Networks, SpyNote does not require root access to a device, but does prompt users for a long list of permissions on installation. The Trojan can also update itself and install other rogue applications on the device.

It's not clear yet how attackers intend to distribute it to victims, because researchers haven't observed attacks in the wild using it. However, they believe that such attacks are very likely giving that the SpyNote builder is now available for free.

The builder is a Windows application that can be used to generate customized versions of the malicious SpyNote APK (Android application package). Attackers can modify parameters like the app's name, icon and command server.

Most malicious Android applications are distributed from third-party websites and require devices to allow the installation of apps from "unknown sources." This feature is turned off on Android devices by default.

From time to time, malware also slips through Google's defenses and makes its way to the official Play Store.

Another possibility is manual installation of the Trojan app on an unsupervised device, for example by a jealous spouse, a business partner, or an ill-intended colleague. There have been cases where users have received pre-infected devices as gifts from people who wished to spy on them.

Newer versions of Android have antimalware features like Verify Apps and SafetyNet that can detect and block known malware applications when their installation is attempted and even if "unknown sources" is allowed on the device.

As a general rule, "installing apps from third-party sources can be very risky — those sources often lack the governance provided by official sources such as the Google Play Store, which, even with detailed procedures and algorithms to weed out malicious applications, is not impregnable," the Palo Alto Networks researchers said in a blog post. "Side-loading apps from questionable sources exposes users and their mobile devices to a variety of malware and possible data loss."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments