A new version of Android malware known as SpyNote is now attacking financial institutions around the globe, and it’s pretty no-joke alarming. The malware combines spyware and banking Trojan characteristics and has targeted well-known banks, including HSBC.
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Hackers are also increasingly using the SpyNote malware to secretly observe and modify infected Android smartphones. As a result, cybersecurity experts are warning Android owners and urging them to be on alert, especially during the installation of new apps.
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What does SpyNote do?
SpyNote, also known to some as SpyMax, is a highly dangerous spyware family designed to monitor, manage and modify a device (in this case, Androids). It can do many harmful activities, including gathering SMS messages, videos, calls, and audio recordings, tracking GPS locations, stealing passwords and credit card numbers, and much more. The latest variant of the spyware is called SpyNote.C, and it’s the first to openly target banking institutions and apps. It specifically targets banking applications and impersonates applications from several large reputable financial institutions.
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How does SpyNote trick Android owners?
SpyNote closely follows the methods of other banking malware by requesting permissions to accessibility services so that it can extract 2-factor authentication codes and transfer banking information.
Another method it uses to trick people is by disguising itself as well-known applications like Facebook, WhatsApp and Google Play, as well as other generic apps like wallpaper, productivity and gaming apps. Distributing malware by disguising it as recognizable apps is a common way for hackers to ploy victims.
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Has SpyNote attacked many Android owners?
At least 87 different customers between August 2021 and October 2022 have mistakenly purchased SpyNote since it was advertised by its developer under the fake name CypherRat through a Telegram channel. However, in October 2022, CypherRat’s source code was made public on the IT service management company GitHub. Once the code was released, the SpyNote attacks increased significantly and started focusing more on online banking apps.
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How do I protect myself from SpyNote?
Experts warn Android owners not to download any suspicious-looking apps or apps from unknown sources. You should always check an app’s reviews and star ratings before downloading and refrain from downloading if only a few people have used it. Also, only grant permissions that are relevant to the app’s purpose.
However, the best way to protect your device from malware is by installing antivirus software. My biggest desire is to educate and inform you about the increased real threat to each of our connected devices and encourage you to use strong antivirus security protection on everything in your life connected to the rest of the world.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘Best Antivirus’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Related: Free antivirus: should you use it?
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