The Threat Analysis Group (TAG) of Google issued a study on spyware operations aimed at Android and iOS users on Thursday as part of the company’s attempts to monitor the activity of commercial spyware suppliers.
The usage of “Hermit,” a commercial-grade spyware programme, is discussed in detail by Google TAG researchers Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne. Attackers can make phone calls, steal data, and access private messages thanks to this sophisticated spyware technology. The Italian-based commercial spyware firm RCS Labs is credited by TAG researchers with creating Hermit in their investigation.
There are several serious risks with the hermit. Hermit Its modular design makes it very adaptable, enabling users to change the spyware’s features as they see fit. The whole research by Sevens and Lecigne describes how drive-by assaults and cunning ploys may be used by attackers to get access to both Android and iOS devices. Before delivering a malicious link through SMS to convince potential victims to “repair” the problem, the ISP provider will deactivate the potential victims’ data. If that fails, targets will be persuaded to download malicious programmes that pose as chat apps.
The use of Hermit by operatives working for the governments of Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy was just disclosed by cybersecurity company Lookout. According to Google, which claims that “TAG is actively tracking more than 30 vendors with varying levels of sophistication and public exposure offering vulnerabilities or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors,” victims have already been located in these nations.
The Milan-based business states that it has been offering “technical support and cutting-edge technological solutions in the field of legal interception for more than 20 years to law enforcement agencies worldwide.” It is said that every day, only in Europe, more than 10,000 intercepted targets are processed.
RCS Labs responded when The Hacker News contacted them for comment, stating that their “core business is the design, production, and implementation of software platforms dedicated to lawful interception, forensic intelligence, and data analysis” and that they “help law enforcement prevent and investigate serious crimes such as acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime, child abuse, and corruption.”
Nevertheless, it is alarming to hear that state government agents are using spyware. Not only does it undermine confidence in the security of the internet, but it also endangers the lives of anybody who a government deems to be an enemy of the state, including politicians from opposition parties, journalists, dissidents, and human rights activists.
A strong, comprehensive strategy that involves collaboration between threat intelligence teams, network defenders, university researchers, governments, and technology platforms will be needed to combat the damaging practices of the commercial spying business, according to Google TAG researchers. We are eager to carry doing our current work in this area and increase the security and safety of our users everywhere.