Spyware takes over iPhones, Androids

Call it Invasion of the iPhone Snatchers: a new FinFisher-based spyware is built to infect iPhones and iPads (and Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone gadgets too) in order to take over the device completely – all unbeknownst to the user.

The smartphones and tablets will innocently appear to be themselves, but in reality the mobile malware is working in the background to track the device’s location, monitor activity and intercept communications including emails, voice calls and text messages.

Ironically, the malware was likely developed with the intention of aiding law enforcement. Citizen’s Lab at the University of Toronto has found that the functionality and mechanisms dovetail with Gamma Group UK’s product for tracking mobile devices.

“When FinSpy Mobile is installed on a mobile phone it can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where in the world the target is located,” reads the product information. However, officials at the company have confirmed that a demonstration copy of its software has been stolen. Citizen’s Lab suspects that it is now spreading, in slightly altered form, at the hands of more nefarious elements.

The virus propagates itself via text message and email, prompting a user to download a bogus “system update” or click on an infecting link.

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