It's a fact that as smartphones get more capable, the possibilities for their misuse also increase. They're already exploited by crooks to swipe personal information, but a new Android app created by the U.S. Navy is on another level entirely. It’s a scary piece of malware called "PlaceRaider" that was developed by the US Naval Surface Warfare center and for now it is being viewed as just a proof of concept.
According to the MIT Technology Review, researchers at Indiana University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center have developed a new form of malware designed to record and reconstruct a victim's environment.
They has just worked out how to infect a mobile phone with a Trojan that can take photos without you knowing anything about it and send sensor data back to a server. The data are used to construct a 3D model which can be used not only to perform the reconnaissance necessary to break in, but also to steal confidential information such as bank details.
On the original page presenting an explanation of the app, the authors note that their work demonstrated “the effectiveness of using mobile devices as powerful surveillance and virtual theft platforms.”
The software even shuts off the phone’s speaker so someone being spied on doesn’t hear the typical sound a device emits when a photo is taken. The developers do say that one way to protect yourself against virtual theft apps such as this is by ensuring that you always have antivirus software and that your shutter audio is always on.