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New Spyware Is Targeting WhatsApp Messages

By July 31, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

Recently, Kaspersky Labs has identified a new strain of malware to be concerned about, and it is spreading across the internet.

Called FinSpy, it specifically targets WhatsApp on both Android and iOS devices.  An analysis of the code reveals that the spyware was created by a German company called Gamma Group, and that it is primarily used by state actors.

In other words, it’s a serious piece of code, as is anything that’s predominately used by governmental agencies. If this malware winds up on your device, it can collect a wide range of information and send it back to the owners of the code.

This information includes:

  • SMS/MMS
  • Emails (including encrypted emails)
  • GPS location data
  • Photos
  • Files in memory
  • Phone call records
  • Messaging application data from Whatsapp, Telegram, Signa, Messenger, Viber, Threema and BBM

If there’s a silver lining to be found about FinSpy, it is the fact that in most cases, a hacker would need to gain physical access to your phone in order to install the malicious code.  The exception here is if you’re using a rooted smartphone or a jailbroken iPhone.  In those cases, all the hacker needs to do to install FinSpy on your device is send you an email or simple push notification.

At present, there’s no good way to prevent it, and no easy way to detect the malware if it finds its way onto your system.  Kaspersky Lab recommends avoiding opening suspicious links received via email or SMS and to protect your phone with a strong password.  Additionally, the company stresses the importance of regularly installing security updates. This is because FinSpy benefits from security flaws found in older versions of both Android and iOS operating systems.

So far, the company reports that there have only been about a dozen confirmed FinSpy installations worldwide. That’s good news indeed, but this is still a serious threat.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.