Italian spyware targets Apple and Android smartphones says Google

Google Threat Analysis team has discovered a new spyware tool that was being fraudulently installed on iPhones and Android devices by a group of hackers in Italy. The tech search giant revealed the information and threw some light on how the spyware industry was flourishing.

Mobile security researchers from Google claim that RCS Lab made the spyware and was targeting mobiles without the consent or knowledge of the user. Similar to NSO’s Pegasus software, the spying tool was also hitting the smartphones of political party leaders, activists, and journalists to gather and transmit intelligence to remote servers.

A freshly released update from Lookout also confirms the use of a surveillance tool on several communication devices of dignitaries from across the world. The study confirmed that the development of such tools will cause a dent in national integrity as they are being used to spying on government officials, human rights activists, journalists, academics, and business executives, including Saudi Prince.

Cybersecurity Insiders have learned that the tool name is Hermit and was also been profusely found on android phones used by government officials in Kazakhstan.

What’s interesting in this whole scenario is the fact that Hermit was also being used by government officials of Kazakhstan to spy on smartphone users living on borders.

This means that RCS might have also sold the spying software to third parties along with government agencies, which is strictly against the rules of the government.

Note 1- In April this year, Hermit the spying malware was also found on mobile phones operating in the Kurdish Region of Syria. It was caught recording audio and video calls, collecting data such as photos, messages, contacts, location, and such facts.

Note 2- The spread of Hermit is taking place in the traditional fashion through message and email links. So, beware of messages that are coming from unknown senders.


Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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