GE2015: FULL COVERAGE

Spyware masquerades as store app, broadcasts GPS data

Users of smartphones running Google's Android were warned Wednesday against a new spyware masquerading as a "Store" app, which threatens to broadcast their GPS coordinates.

BitDefender said the spyware works in the background and uses a "Store" icon, and broadcasts the user's GPS location to a remote server on a regular basis.

"It’s obvious that it tries to trick users into thinking it has store-like features by using a misleading icon. Besides broadcasting your latitude and longitude, it sends the name of your carrier by means of any existing Internet connection," it said.

The malware is lightweight and tends to load upon startup, it added.

"It’s likely we’ll see this spyware bundled with other apps, because this type of service is easy to keep running in the background so it can broadcast GPS coordinates," it warned.

BitDefender said the spyware also tries to enable the user's Wi-Fi connection and scan for available access point details, and transmit them as well.

For now, it said it can only theorize that the infected devices will provide attackers with a relative positioning of certain Wi-Fi networks.

"The broadcasts are set for every couple of seconds, meaning that your location is thoroughly tracked and posted on the attacker-controlled domain. Even if it can’t enable the Wi-Fi connection, it still broadcasts GPS coordinates regardless of hotspot details," it said. — TJD, GMA News

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