New spyware seeks to blackmail Android and iOS users

ransom note

Researchers at mobile device security company Lookout have uncovered a new strain of spyware targeting iOS and Android users in multiple Asian countries.

Called Goontact, it targets users lured to illicit sites and steals personal information stored on their mobile devices in order to carry out sextortion scams.

The information Goontact can extract includes device identifiers and phone numbers, contact information, SMS messages, photos on external storage and even location data. The culprits spearheading Goontact are still unknown but based on the Lookout's research, it is highly probable that this is the newest addition to a crime affiliate's arsenal, rather than coming from a nation-state actor.

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"It's no secret that mobile devices are a treasure trove for cybercriminals," says Phil Hochmuth, program vice president of enterprise mobility at IDC. "As the use of mobile devices continues to increase, so does the maturity of iOS and Android cybercrime. Now more than ever, consumers must be proactive in avoiding compromise with iOS and Android threat actors whose main objective is to fleece them financially."

The scammers lure victims to sites offering escort services where operators then convince them to convince them to install mobile applications meant to 'enhance the user experience'. However, these apps have no real user functionality, other than to steal the victim's personal data which is then used by the attacker to try to extort money from the target.

A detailed description of the malware can be found on the Lookout blog.

Image Credit: Robynrg/Shutterstock

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