Mobile & Gadgets

All data stored on your smartphone

Five data-stealing applications that offer to retrieve secret information from others in less than a minute have hit the Android Market, posing a new risk for security of data stored on smart phones running Android

An app developer has put out five tools (identified by Bitdefender as Android.Spyware.GoneSixty.Gen), advertised as for “study purpose” only, that can steal all data from a smartphone.

All one needs to do is  install on the victim’s phone one of the apps, run it, and memorize a 5-digit code. In the background the spy tool silently uploads and sends to a remote server contacts, messages, recent calls, browser history stored on the phone. Plus it also initializes the uninstall process after the job is done. Nice and easy, and above all extremely discreet, in less than 60 seconds.

To access the uploaded data, the curious or the crook has only to go to the developer’s site and enter the pass code to access all the contacts. For messages, recent calls and history, a $5 fee is requested which sounds like a small toll for a big invasion in someone’s personal life. If the person also keeps job related data on the phone, a pry tool like this can compromise an entire business in the process.

There’s a note mentioning that all data not paid for by users will be deleted after a day, out of respect and for security reasons; needless to say that this statement is by no means to be trusted. A data base of sensitive private information – be it personal or corporate – can prove a gold mine. Cybercriminal minds can see the benefits of that and wouldn’t let such an opportunity slip through their fingers.

Some ways to minimize such data theft:

– While in public, never lose sight of your smartphone

– If you lend your phone to someone make sure you keep an eye on whatever activity they initiate with it

– use an antivirus solution for smartphones

– don’t keep job-related information on your smartphone, unless you encrypt it beforehand

This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Vlad Constantin ILIE, BitDefender Malware Researcher.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Loredana BOTEZATU

A blend of teacher and technical journalist with a pinch of e-threat analysis, Loredana Botezatu writes mostly about malware and spam. She believes that most errors happen between the keyboard and the chair. Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years and has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.

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