On Wednesday, Google detected a new spyware on Android, which could take a look at everything you did with your phone, starting with listening your phone calls and ending with taking screenshots of what you did with your apps. The threat, called Lipizzan, has been blocked, but the fight is not over.
Spyware produced by a cyberarms company
As soon as Google detected Lipizzan, it has immediately taken measures and blocked the spyware. While dealing with it, they discovered it was no harmless threat, as they found signs of a cyberarms company being involved. The company in question is Equus Technologies.
In April, the tech giant had to fight with a similar spyware, called Chrysaor, which it also thought to have been produced by another cyberarms company, NSO Group. Chrysaor spied on the exact same things as Lipizzan did, namely phone calls, emails, text messages, and could even steal everything you typed.
In the meantime, security researchers discovered no apps on Google Play Store infected with Chrysaor. However, the situation is different for Lipizzan. The spyware reached many users as it appeared on Play Store like a backup app which seemed harmless.
Quite few devices got infected with Lipizzan
If you installed it, Lipizzan would start downloading a so-called software verification. This stage asked for your permission to proceed. If you gave it, then it would start exploiting the device, and sending screenshots or other information to a server.
Google blocked the first series of malicious apps, but more of them kept appearing. Fortunately, the company realized it just in time to block the new series of attacks. Also, only a small number of devices got infected with Lipizzan – more precisely 0.000007 percent.
To make sure you won’t be the victim of such an attack, Google advises you to use Google Play Protect. This scans all apps you download and keeps your device safe. Also, do not download anything from questionable sources, and perform all security updates.
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