Researchers have discovered Android spyware called Exaspy being used to intercept phone-based communications on...
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
executives' devices, including phone calls, text messages, video chats and photos. Most mobile security scanners have not been able to detect the spyware. How does Exaspy disguise itself and evade detection?
Malware comes in many different forms, such as adware, spyware and unauthorized remote administration tools.
Malware being sold to monitor mobile devices is not a new problem. Sometimes, the only difference between malware and a legitimate security program is how they are used. It is common for security programs to go undetected by antimalware tools because these programs are assumed to be legitimate, and, if detected, the programs may not be reported as being potentially malicious to an antimalware vendor for investigation.
The Android spyware Exaspy, discovered by researchers at Skycure Inc., appears to straddle this fine line between malware and a seemingly legitimate tool. Exaspy can be used to intercept phone-based communications, record audio, steal data from the endpoint and connect to a command-and-control server. Skycure first discovered Exaspy on the Android device owned by one of the vice presidents of a global technology company.
Physical access to a phone is needed to install Exaspy. Once it's installed, it uses the name Google Services to avoid the suspicion of a user looking through the installed applications. It asks for a license key, and then it disables its main activity component to hide from the launcher. Exaspy is able to execute shell commands in order to elevate its privileges.
The researchers do not know how the spyware got on the endpoint, and it doesn't appear to be available via the Google Play Store.
Skycure recommends implementing PIN codes and fingerprint authentication on Android devices, disabling USB debugging and making sure OEM unlocking is turned off. Other defense tactics include doing regular checks on the device administrators list, disabling suspicious components, avoiding apps offered through untrusted app stores and not granting special permissions to apps that don't need them.
Find out how the Overseer spyware works on infected Android applications
Learn how Twitter accounts are being used as command-and-control servers to spread malware
Read about spyware that was preinstalled on budget Android devices
Dig Deeper on Malware, virus, Trojan and spyware protection and removal
Related Q&A from Nick Lewis
An Apache Struts vulnerability is still being exploited, even though it has already been patched. Expert Nick Lewis explains why the Struts platform ...continue reading
A revamped Poison Ivy RAT campaign has been using new evasion and distribution techniques. Expert Nick Lewis explains the new attack methods that ...continue reading
Fileless malware hidden in server memory led to attacks on many companies worldwide. Expert Nick Lewis explains how these attacks fit in with the ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.