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[liberationtech] Fwd: [IP] Sophisticated iPhone and Android malware is spying on Hong Kong protesters

Rich Kulawiec rsk at gsp.org
Wed Oct 1 10:03:34 PDT 2014


[ Forwarded from Dave Farber's most excellent "IP" mailing list. ---rsk ]

----- Forwarded message from David Farber via ip <ip at listbox.com> -----

> Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2014 12:15:09 -0400
> From: David Farber via ip <ip at listbox.com>
> To: ip <ip at listbox.com>
> Subject: [IP] Sophisticated iPhone and Android malware is spying on Hong Kong protesters
> 
> Begin forwarded message:
> 
>> From: Dewayne Hendricks <dewayne at warpspeed.com>
>> Subject: [Dewayne-Net] Sophisticated iPhone and Android malware is spying on Hong Kong protesters
>> Date: October 1, 2014 at 8:59:30 AM EDT
>> To: Multiple recipients of Dewayne-Net <dewayne-net at warpspeed.com>
>> 
>> Sophisticated iPhone and Android malware is spying on Hong Kong protesters
>> Researchers say all signs point to the Chinese government
>> By Amar Toor
>> Oct 1 2014
>> 
>> <http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/1/6877377/sophisticated-iphone-and-android-malware-is-spying-on-hong-kong>
>> 
>> A fake smartphone app is being used to remotely monitor pro-democracy
>> protesters in Hong Kong, according to a report from the New York
>> Times. Researchers from Lacoon Mobile Security say the phishing scam is
>> spreading across the messaging application WhatsApp, through texts that
>> read: "Check out this Android app designed by Code4HK for the coordination
>> of OCCUPY CENTRAL!", along with a link to download software. Lacoon
>> says the software, once downloaded, can access a user's personal data,
>> including phone calls, text messages, and the physical location of their
>> smartphone. Code4HK ? a developer community that has helped to spread
>> information about the protests ? tells the Times it had nothing to do
>> with the texts.
>> 
>> The origin of the scam remains unknown, but Lacoon CEO Michael Shaulov
>> says the Chinese government is likely behind it, given the location of the
>> servers and the sophistication of the operation. The company traced it to
>> a computer that they say is similar to those that the Chinese government
>> allegedly used to launch cyberattacks against US targets last year. The
>> spread of the app remains equally unclear, though Shaulov says it was
>> downloaded by one out of every ten phones that received the fake message,
>> and, notably, that it has affected both Android and iOS users alike.
>> 
>> Phishing scam targets Android and iOS users alike
>> 
>> "This is the first time that we have seen such operationally sophisticated
>> iOS malware operational, which is actually developed by a Chinese-speaking
>> entity," Shaulov told the Times.
>> 
>> Today's report comes as thousands of protesters flocked to the streets
>> on China's National Day, calling for Beijing to allow for free democratic
>> elections in 2017. China had previously said it would allow Hong Kong to
>> choose its own leader by that date, but backtracked on that promise in
>> August, when it announced that all candidates would have to be approved
>> by Beijing.
>> 
>> Protesters in the "Occupy Central" movement have clashed with police
>> since protests escalated over the weekend, and there are fears of
>> further confrontation tonight, during National Day celebrations. The
>> Chinese government has gone to great lengths to censor news of the
>> demonstrations. Most state-run media have not mentioned it, and Chinese
>> web censors have stepped up efforts to block images and videos on social
>> media. On Sunday, the government blocked access to Instagram within
>> mainland China, and posts on the Twitter-like service Sina Weibo have
>> been aggressively deleted, according to the Times. In the past few days,
>> censors have blocked any Weibo posts including the words "Hong Kong,"
>> "barricades," and "umbrella" ? the unofficial symbol of Hong Kong's
>> movement.
>> 



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