News You Really Need To See: “Hackers Target Hong Kong Protesters via iPhones”

“Hackers Target Hong Kong Protesters via iPhones”

Bloomberg Businessweek, October 1, 2014

In our digital age, geopolitics plays out in cyberspace as much as in physical space.  The latest evidence comes straight from Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have been calling for the territory’s leader, C.Y. Leung, to resign.  Police responded over the weekend with tear gas.  China’s cyber spies have reacted as well, with malicious software designed to infiltrate demonstrators’ iPhones and Android devices. Malware targeting iPhones is relatively rare.  And an attack against both the Apple and Android operating systems is very unusual, suggesting that a powerful organization behind it, according to Lacoon, a mobile security company that discovered the iOS-targeted spyware. … The opening salvo was a piece of malicious software disguised as an Android app to help activists coordinate protests.  Lacoon, which focuses on helping companies protect mobile devices, began analyzing the program, which included tracing the Internet sites with which the spying software communicated, once installed.  Such sites are known as ‘command and control’ servers in cybersecurity lingo. … In examining one of these sites, the researchers found another version of the malware—this one designed to steal information from iPhones.  Everything on the site is written in Chinese, according to Lacoon. … The cyber-intelligence firm iSight Partners has tracked spying efforts aimed at Tibetan activists and other minorities tracked by China’s intelligence agencies.  In one example, the hackers sent malware disguised as a conference app to members of China’s Uyghur community who were attending an organizing event.  Users who clicked on the app saw only conference details, while the malware recorded phone calls and even surreptitiously captured conversations through the phone’s microphone….”

Quickie Analysis:  I wonder who’s behind this. 🙂

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