Android Malware Eavesdrop on PCs via Microphone

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 5, 2013 11:20 AM EST

Two sneaky Android apps have been detected by Kaspersky, a well-known anti-virus and malware security developer. The apps cloaks as cache cleaners but instead snoop around once connected to PC. Superclean and DroidCleaner are the two applications uncovered by Kaspersky Labs. Both feature clean-up of Android phone or tablet cache files.

The so-called "cleaners" promise to make devices faster and to increase processing but turns out to download three separate files - autorun.inf, folder.ico, and svchosts.exe. These components are automatically placed in the root of the device's SD card, and once the user connects it to the computer using USB mode, the malware begins to execute itself.

The malware activates the desktop microphone, encrypts all recording, and send all gathered information back to the developer of the malicious application according to Kaspersky. Aside from infecting the PC, the malware also uploads Android device's information, opens arbitrary browser links, uploads and deletes SMS, and distributes contacts, photos, and coordinates online.

According to Kaspersky Lab expert Victor Chebyshev, "We have come across PC malware that infects mobile devices before, however, in this case it's the other way around: an app that runs on a mobile device is designed to infect PCs."

The vulnerability of the PC depends primarily on its current Operating System version. The AutoRun feature of Windows initiates boot activity of any external devices connected such as CDs, DVDs, and USB is disabled by default in newer versions of Windows like Windows 7, for instance. PC owners who use older Windows version are likely to be the most vulnerable to this kind of attack.

The common event which makes a user infect the computer is by connecting the smartphone and transferring files such as music or videos. In this kind of process, the malware have already implanted itself inside the computer.

Kaspersky has noted the following capabilities of malware applications:

1.     Sending and deleting of SMS

2.     Enabling Wi-Fi connectivity

3.     Gathering and sending online the information about the device

4.     Opening arbitrary links in a browser

5.     Uploading the entire contents of the SD card

6.     Uploading of contacts, photos, and location of the device to the malware creator

Both malware applications are no longer seen in Google Play but these elements served a good warning for better security using an anti-virus program and careful downloading of anything online.

Below is a video that provides tips on how to safeguard your device.

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