Android is once again under a severe threat, that could be affecting millions of Android phone users, without their knowledge. The new threat is a way for people to access your location, making it easier than ever to target where someone is, for whatever reason the criminal has in mind.
The threat was discovered by Malwarebytes and has been given the title of Spy.MailGPS.
Probably one of the most scariest aspects about this threat is that it is disguised as an app to android. Thus, many people who are infected, have no clue about this. The way in which this threat does this is through adopting a named com.services.Google file name. This file name is being used by Google currently as a way to offer control over Android devices. Therefore, when a person were to see this in their settings area, they would likely assume that it was an Android based application that was put there by Google.
Once this app is installed onto the Android device that you are using, the app locates your physical location. Then the app sends an automatic email to whoever the attacker is that includes a Google Maps link that has not only the name of the area that you are in, but the longitude and latitude as well. Making it extremely easy for an attacker to find you.
Surprisingly, it seems that the attacker on the phone can actually use this app to check numerous times on the location’s device. Meaning that it would not take much for someone to follow a person throughout a major city with all the information that they are getting from the users phone.
This threat is using the GPS system that is often used by cell phone companies in tracking lost or stolen phones. This system has also come in useful in cases of missing persons. However, the spy.mailGPS also brings about issues of privacy. In a case against the government in 2011 that proposed that using GPS was against the appelate court stated:
“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”
The question that many people are asking is just how this app is getting downloaded onto their phones. There are several methods, including a hacker accessing your phone via a wi-fi connection or an unsecured connection that allows them to implant this. Other ways in which this is getting used is through downloading other apps that may not be approved by Google.
There are several things that you can do in order to ensure that you are not at risk for this form of spyware. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Always be aware of what apps you are downloading, and ensure that these apps are safe.
2. Use a secure internet connection at all times to ensure that you are not vulnerable in this matter.
3. Consider a VPN, such as HideMyAss, that is going to offer you another form of security against hackers and data thieves.
4. Turning off your GPS location can help to prevent your location from being known, but many claim that the new threat can still do this without the GPS on.
New threats pop up everyday, so a person has to take precautions in everything that they do. Whether they are working on their phone, tablet or computer, there are threats that can affect their personal and professional lives. That is why a valuable virus and malware protection is recommended, as well as a secure Internet connection that can be found via a reliable and trustworthy VPN.