As mobile device owners, we’re constantly vigilant of the numerous viruses, malware and general non-niceties that tend to be floating about, ready to hack our treasured gadgets and steal data and other such information. And now, a major new piece of malicious software has been uncovered by a security team that apparently targets diplomats, key figures within military circles and business executives, and while it can affect Windows Phone, Android and the Android apps on the BlackBerry OS, and iOS too only if it’s jailbroken.
The malware, whose existence has been confirmed by Kaspersky Labs, is said to be highly sophisticated in how it sets about its business. In fact, whereas most malware is merely the work of one or a few bedroom hackers, the so-called "Inception – Cloud Atlas" attack is being touted as the rebirth of the famed RedOctober malware platform that also targeted similar high-profile men and women.
Such is the complexity of the malware, that it could only have been created if backed by sizeable resources, suggesting that at least one government body may be behind the attack. This is merely speculation, of course, but given the tone of Kaspersky’s report, the level of work that has gone into obscuring the identity of the Inception hackers is quite alarming,
It apparently utilizes free accounts through Swedish cloud service CloudMe to store extracted data, and while the espionage campaign is noted to be aimed at key figures, any user should be disconcerted by this discovery.
In order to stay protected, Android users should avoid installing apps from untrusted sources. For iOS, sure, we’re major advocates of jailbreaking in general here for the freedom it bestows upon users, but as is being quite damningly demonstrated here, it may also leave the door ajar to big-time hackers. So if you are jailbroken or want to jailbreak, make sure you avoid adding shady repositories on Cydia.
Inception poses as a WhatsApp update, so avoid anything that seeks to trick you into downloading a new version of WhatsApp from anywhere other than the Windows Phone / App / Google Play Store.
With the inherent ability to snoop on your device’s data ranging from contacts to apps installed, it’s not to be taken lightly, and even if you’re not an executive or decorated member of the military, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.