Pegasus, the spy app that steals Android users’ data

This is the same malware that hit some iOS users last year, it is also very dangerous because it can be purchased on the Net for a few euros

Protecting smartphones from hackers and prying eyes, as we have pointed out several times, is not easy. It is better to use effective unlocking systems, such as fingerprints or complex PINs. But these tricks are not always enough. Researchers from Lookout, one of the largest mobile device security companies, and Google Android's team of experts have revealed the existence of a new virus currently circulating on phones running the green robot operating system. The malware acts in a quite infamous way, as it hides behind normal applications present in the Google Play Store. Therefore, spotting and avoiding it is not easy. Once the app is downloaded, the malware takes access to various permissions, such as browsing history, calls, emails, calendar, location, contacts and permissions on other apps, without asking anything from the user.

Spyware dangers

A similar virus was discovered last year on iOS products, and experts say an Israeli tech espionage company, known as NSO Group, is behind this malware. "We knew we would find the same iOS malware on Android as well, - says Mike Murray, Lookout's vice president of intelligence and security - it was just a matter of time. The main problem is that these types of viruses are used all over the world and therefore the potential number of victims is huge." Luckily, the algorithms used by Google to check the source code of the applications used in the Google Play Store has stemmed the spread of malware, thus protecting unsuspecting users.

Few Euros for Malware

Despite Google's prompt intervention, researchers are very concerned about the proliferation of this new spyware. They are undoubtedly the most dangerous malware present at the moment. They allow cyber criminals to manage another person's entire life, from messages to bank accounts, without their knowledge for a long period of time. The phenomenon is on the rise as these viruses are sold online and you don't need to be a hacker to install it in your victim's smartphone. It is enough to send an attachment or a malicious link bought on the Net. And in the deep web you can find them for as little as 20 euros. Since it is open source, Android can be infinitely modified and adapted, but this can make it difficult to distribute security updates quickly. This is another reason why the most at-risk users are those using older Android versions. It should also be mentioned that Pegasus malware is also difficult to detect. It has built-in self-destruct mechanisms, and it can also block certain security patches and scans that could nullify it or report it to the user.