KEY POINTS

  • A new report revealed that a potential cyberespionage app is posing as a COVID-19 tracker app
  • The alleged spyware app is available for Android and iOS devices
  • Users can avoid falling prey into this kind of malicious apps by doing this simple thing

A new cyberespionage campaign posing as a COVID-19 info app for Android and iOS recently surfaced online. The said app can reportedly monitor different aspects of the functionality of a smartphone. It can also exfiltrate collected information to its C2, according to a new report.

Cyberespionage Posing as COVID-19 Tracker

Trend Micro, the multinational cybersecurity and defense company, shared that it has discovered a possible cyberespionage campaign named Project Spy. The spyware reportedly infects both iOS and Android devices and exploits the current COVID-19 pandemic to lure unsuspecting victims. The report claims that the app requests access to seven high-risk permissions, which underlines that it is a risk-loaded kind of software.

Project Spy poses as COVID-19 tracker under the name Coronavirus Updates. Trend Micro reported that it had discovered resemblances in a couple of earlier samples cloaked as a Google service, and later as a music app. So far, the app was downloaded in various parts of the world, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Grenada, Austria, Afghanistan, and Iran.

Android malware Kryptowire discovered 146 vulnerabilities caused by pre-installed apps on Android devices. Photo: Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

What Does The Spyware Do?

Android spyware is capable of stealing WhatsApp messages, Facebook messages, text messages, call logs, contact lists, and location and device data from infected devices. For iOS, the spyware has limited ability to steal data. But, according to the report, "the apps may still be in development or incubation, maybe waiting for a 'right time' to inject the malicious codes." Currently, there are a couple of apps available in the iOS App Store and Google Play.

Android users could secure their devices by installing the best antivirus app that could block this type of malicious software. But, for iPhone users, there is no antivirus software available. The Cupertino-based tech giant, however, informed the cybersecurity company that the iOS "sandbox could detect and block this kind of malicious behavior."

Installing antivirus apps on smartphones these days has a lot of benefits. An antivirus app offers multilayered security functionalities that ensure the data and privacy of the owner are protected and safeguarded. It also protects the device from spyware, identity theft, fraudulent websites, and ransomware.