Pro-democracy protest continue in Hong Kong, and it appears that a different problem has been spreading among the demonstrators. Lacoon Mobile Security has reported the existence of a fake mobile application to spy on those participating in the demonstration. It appears to spread through a whatsapp message urging the recipient to download the app that claims to facilitate communications and coordination.
The phishing message claims to be sent by Code4HK, which is a group of programmers who are supporting the democracy movement. This is blatantly untrue and members of the Code4HK group had nothing to do with the app. Lacoon Chief Executive Michael Shaulov says that it is impossible to be certain about the origins of the malware; however he indicates that it is likely to have come from the Chinese government.
Users who end up installing the app will leave their phone data open for eavesdropping, not to mention the controller of the malware is apparently also able to tap into the GPS system to track the movements of the device. It is able to infect both Android and iOS phones, although it is only capable of truly infecting jail-broken iOS devices.
Security firm CrowdStrike claims that it expects to see personal attacks to discredit protest leaders to increase in the coming weeks, possibly due to information gathered by the perpetrators of the cyberattack. While it is not proven that the Chinese government is responsible, such actions to weaken the position of the pro-democracy movement would only do more to indicate its involvement in the episode.
[Source: New York Times]