The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter
CrowdSec

The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: spying software

Google Says ISPs Helped Attackers Infect Targeted Smartphones with Hermit Spyware

Google Says ISPs Helped Attackers Infect Targeted Smartphones with Hermit Spyware

June 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A week after it emerged that a sophisticated mobile spyware dubbed Hermit was used by the government of Kazakhstan within its borders, Google said it has notified Android users of infected devices. Additionally, necessary changes have been implemented in  Google Play Protect  — Android's built-in malware defense service — to protect all users, Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne of Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG)  said  in a Thursday report. Hermit, the work of an Italian vendor named RCS Lab, was  documented  by Lookout last week, calling out its modular feature-set and its abilities to harvest sensitive information such as call logs, contacts, photos, precise location, and SMS messages. Once the threat has thoroughly insinuated itself into a device, it's also equipped to record audio and make and redirect phone calls, besides abusing its permissions to accessibility services on Android to keep tabs on various foreground apps used by the victims. Its modularity also enab
NSO Confirms Pegasus Spyware Used by at least 5 European Countries

NSO Confirms Pegasus Spyware Used by at least 5 European Countries

June 23, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The beleaguered Israeli surveillanceware vendor NSO Group this week admitted to the European Union lawmakers that its Pegasus tool was used by at least five countries in the region. "We're trying to do the right thing and that's more than other companies working in the industry," Chaim Gelfand, the company's general counsel and chief compliance officer, said, according to a  report  from Politico. Acknowledging that it had "made mistakes," the company also stressed on the need for an international standard to regulate the government use of spyware. The disclosure comes as a special inquiry committee was  launched in April 2022  to investigate alleged breaches of E.U. law following revelations that the company's Pegasus spyware is being used to snoop on phones belonging to politicians, diplomats, and civil society members. "The committee is going to look into existing national laws regulating surveillance, and whether Pegasus spyware was us
Israel Bans Sales of Hacking and Surveillance Tools to 65 Countries

Israel Bans Sales of Hacking and Surveillance Tools to 65 Countries

November 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Israel's Ministry of Defense has dramatically restricted the number of countries to which cybersecurity firms operating in the nation are allowed to sell offensive hacking and surveillance tools to, cutting off 65 nations from the export list. The revised list, details of which were first reported by the Israeli business newspaper  Calcalist , now only includes 37 countries, down from the previous 102: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. Notably missing from the list are countries such as Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E, which have been previously identified as customers of Israeli spyware vendor NSO Group. In curtailing the exports, the mov
Beware of Fake Amnesty International Antivirus for Pegasus that Hacks PCs with Malware

Beware of Fake Amnesty International Antivirus for Pegasus that Hacks PCs with Malware

October 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
In yet another indicator of how hacking groups are quick to capitalize on world events and improvise their attack campaigns for maximum impact, threat actors have been discovered impersonating Amnesty International to distribute malware that purports to be security software designed to safeguard against NSO Group's Pegasus surveillanceware.  "Adversaries have set up a phony website that looks like Amnesty International's — a human rights-focused non-governmental organization — and points to a promised antivirus tool to protect against the NSO Group's Pegasus tool," Cisco Talos researchers  said . "However, the download actually installs the little-known Sarwent malware." The countries most affected by the campaign include the U.K., the U.S., Russia, India, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Romania, and Colombia. While it's unclear as to how the victims are lured into visiting the fake Amnesty International website, the cybersecurity firm surmised the atta
WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

May 19, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , detailing a spyware framework – which "provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers" – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft's Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10. Dubbed Athena/Hera , the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server. The leak, which includes a user manual of Athena, overview of the technology, and demonstration on how to use this spyware, reveals that the program has two implications: Primary: Athena for XP to Windows 10  Secondary: Hera for Windows 8 through Windows 10 According to the whistleblower organization, Athena has the ability to allow the CIA agents to modify its co
Police Arrested Suspected Hacker Who Hacked the 'Hacking Team'

Police Arrested Suspected Hacker Who Hacked the 'Hacking Team'

January 31, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Remember the Hacker who hacked Hacking Team ? In 2015, a hacker named Phineas Fisher hacked Hacking Team – the Italy-based spyware company that sells spying software to law enforcement agencies worldwide – and exposed some 500 gigabytes of internal data for anyone to download. Now, the Spanish authorities believe that they have arrested Phineas Fisher, who was not just behind the embarrassing hack of Hacking Team, but also hacked the UK-based Gamma International, another highly secretive company which sells the popular spyware called " FinFisher ." During an investigation of a cyber attack against Sindicat De Mossos d'Esquadra (SME), Spain's Catalan police union, police in Spain have arrested three people, one of which detained in the city of Salamanca is suspected of being Fisher, according to local newspaper ARA . The cyber attack was carried out in May last year when Fisher announced via his own Twitter account that he had hacked the SME and also publ
Microsoft Collecting More Data of Windows 10 Users than Initially Thought

Microsoft Collecting More Data of Windows 10 Users than Initially Thought

January 07, 2016Swati Khandelwal
After several controversial data mining and privacy invasion features within Microsoft's newest operating system, Microsoft continued convincing its users that Windows 10 is not spying on anyone and that the company is not collecting more data than it needs. In addition, Microsoft also updated its privacy policy in order to clear how and when Windows 10 utilizes users' data. But wait, before you convinced yourself by this statement, just have a look on the milestones (listed below) that Microsoft recently announced, revealing that Windows 10 is now actively running on 200 Million devices . Also Read:   Microsoft WARNING — 'Use Windows 7 at Your Own Risk' Microsoft Tracks Your Every Move Here's the list of milestones that Microsoft just achieved: People spent over 11 Billion hours on Windows 10 in December 2015. More than 44.5 Billion minutes were spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices in December alone. Windows 10 users aske
North Korea's Red Star OS (Looks Like Mac OS X) Spies on its Own People

North Korea's Red Star OS (Looks Like Mac OS X) Spies on its Own People

December 30, 2015Swati Khandelwal
North Korea has its own homegrown computer operating system that looks remarkably just like Apple's OS X, which not only prevents potential foreign hacking attempts but also provides extensive surveillance capabilities. Two German researchers have just conducted an in-depth analysis of the secretive state's operating system and found that the OS does more than what is known about it. Dubbed Red Star OS , the operating system based on a Linux 2009 version called Fedora 11 limits its users to a government-approved view of the world and has the tendency to ' watermark ' files on USB sticks to track user's shuttling contraband material. Red Star OS Tracks User's Every Move In short, whenever a user inserts a USB storage device containing photos, videos or other documents, into a computer running Red Star, the OS takes the current hard disk's serial number, encrypts that number, and writes that encrypted serial into the file, marking it. The p
British Intelligence Open-Sources its Large-Scale Graph Database Software

British Intelligence Open-Sources its Large-Scale Graph Database Software

December 16, 2015Swati Khandelwal
UK's Secretive Spy Agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has open-sourced one of its tools on code-sharing website GitHub for free... A graph database called ' Gaffer .' Gaffer , written in Java, is a kind of database that makes it "easy to store large-scale graphs in which the nodes and edges have statistics such as counts, histograms and sketches." Github is a popular coding website that allows software developers to build their project on a single platform equipped with all the requirements that are gone in the making of a software. Gaffer and its Functionalities In short, Gaffer is a framework for creating mass-scale databases, to store and represent data, and is said to be useful for tasks including: Allow the creation of graphs with summarised properties within Accumulo with a very less amount of coding. Allow flexibility of stats that describe the entities and edges. Allow easy addition of nodes and edges. Allo
Kazakhstan makes it Mandatory for its Citizens to Install Internet Backdoor

Kazakhstan makes it Mandatory for its Citizens to Install Internet Backdoor

December 04, 2015Mohit Kumar
Next in the queue, Kazakhstan is also planning to Spy on encrypted Internet Traffic of its citizens, but in the most shameless way. Unlike other spying nations that are themselves capable of spying on their citizens, Kazakhstan will force every internet user in the country to install bogus security certs on their PCs and mobile devices, allowing the 'Dictator' Government to: Intercept users' Internet traffic to any Secure website, i.e. Man-in-the-Middle  Attack Access everything from user's web browsing history to usernames and passwords to secure and HTTPS-encrypted traffic This Program will seriously restrict Citizens' Freedom of Speech and Expression. What the F… is "National Internet Security Certificate"? On Monday, the nation's largest Internet service provider Kazakhtelecom JSC published a notice, which said: Citizens are "obliged" to install a so-called " National Internet Security Certificate "
Would Encryption Backdoor Stop Paris-like Terror Attacks?

Would Encryption Backdoor Stop Paris-like Terror Attacks?

November 17, 2015Swati Khandelwal
With 129 people killed in Paris terror attacks and dozens critically wounded, the law enforcement and intelligence officials are reviving their efforts to force companies to put some backdoors in encryption so that they can access your information. How did the Intelligence agencies fail to Intercept terrorist plans of these attacks? In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Former CIA Director Michael Morell argued on TV that encrypted communication services may have aided the planning and plotting of the Paris attacks, blaming Edward Snowden and US companies for the attacks. Also Read:  NO, We Can't Blame Edward Snowden and Encryption for Terror Attacks With more Surveillance and Encryption backdoor, Is it possible that Friday's attacks could have been stopped before they began? Morell suggested that recalcitrant US companies should be forced to install government backdoors in their software and hand over encryption keys to the government, thinking that Encryption Backd
NSA-linked Spying Malware Infected Top German Official's Computer

NSA-linked Spying Malware Infected Top German Official's Computer

October 27, 2015Swati Khandelwal
The German authorities have initiated a further investigation into espionage by the United States secret service NSA and British intelligence agency GCHQ after...   ...the head of the German Federal Chancellery unit had his private laptop infected. According to a recent report published by Der Spiegel , the laptop of the Chancellery division leader was infected with Regin – a highly advanced espionage malware program that has been linked to the National Security Agency (NSA) and its UK counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). As The Hacker News reported almost a year ago, Regin is one of the most highly advanced, sophisticated malware programs that was used to spy on a wide range of international targets including: Internet service providers (ISPs) Telecommunications backbone operators Energy firms Airlines Government entities Research institutes Other high-profile individuals …around the world since at least 2008. Regin has d
THN Weekly Roundup — Top 14 Must-Read Cyber Security Stories

THN Weekly Roundup — Top 14 Must-Read Cyber Security Stories

September 07, 2015Mohit Kumar
We found a high concern for cybersecurity tactics and an increased awareness of the challenges that it brings. This week, we shared lots of stories with our readers, and to help them in identifying the biggest malware threats to their online safety. We are here with the outline of our last week stories, just in case you missed any of them ( ICYMI ). We recommend you read the entire thing ( just click ' Read More ' because there's some valuable advice in there as well ). Here's the list: ➢ How Hackers Can Hack Your Gmail Accounts? Getting smarter in their phishing tactics, hackers have found out ways to fool Gmail's tight security system by bypassing its two-step verification. Hackers are now using text messages and phone-based phishing attacks to circumvent Gmail's security and take over your Gmail accounts. — Read more . ➢ Not Just Windows 10, Windows 7 and 8 Also Spy on You Laughing at controversial data mining and privacy invasion featur
Google Chrome Silently Listening to Your Private Conversations

Google Chrome Silently Listening to Your Private Conversations

June 25, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Google was under fire of downloading and installing a Chrome extension surreptitiously and subsequently listened to the conversations of Chromium users without consent. After these accusations, a wave of criticism by privacy campaigners and open source developers has led Google to remove the extension from Chromium , the open-source version of the Chrome browser. The extension in question is " Chrome Hotword ," which was found to be responsible for offering the browser's famous " OK, Google " functionality. ' Ok, Google ' is certainly a useful feature that allows users to search for things via their voice when they use Google as their default search engine, but its something that also enables eavesdropping of every single conversation made by a user. Google Silently Listens to your Conversation This issue came to light by Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge , who says Google has silently installed black box code into the open-so
Spy Agencies Hijack Google Play Store to Install Spyware on Smartphones

Spy Agencies Hijack Google Play Store to Install Spyware on Smartphones

May 21, 2015Mohit Kumar
I have an Android phone with a five different gmail accounts configured in it. But what if any one of them get compromised via phishing, malware or any other way? The Hacker would be able to access my Google account and obviously Google Play Store account too, which allows anyone to install any Android application remotely into my phone without my knowledge and confirmation… What if someone compromises large number of Google accounts and trigger mass installation of a spying or malware app remotely with just one click???? Yes, this was exactly what the National Security Agency (NSA) had done under its widely spread Global surveillance program. A new top-secret document obtained from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA and its closest allies planned to hijack Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware. The operation was launched by the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, including spy agents from each of the coun
US Court Rules NSA Phone surveillance Program is illegal

US Court Rules NSA Phone surveillance Program is illegal

May 07, 2015Swati Khandelwal
US Court rules NSA Phone surveillance Program is illegal United States' National Security Agency (NSA) Spying program that systematically collects data about Millions of Americans' phone calls in bulk is illegal – Yes illegal. The NSA Phone surveillance program, first disclosed by the former NSA employee and whistleblower of global surveillance Edward Snowden , ruled illegal by a New York federal appeals court on Thursday, ordering lawmakers to either completely end or replace the program. Mass Collection of Metadata: Under this program, the U.S. agency has collected information about phone numbers called and how many times it has been called. However, no content of conversations has been recorded. The program also allegedly spied on European firms and among the individuals targeted was German Chancellor Angela Merkel . However, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York issued a 97-page in-depth court ruling , in which all the three judges said
Online Courses and Software

Sign up for cybersecurity newsletter and get latest news updates delivered straight to your inbox daily.