AMITIAE - Wednesday 17 December 2014

Cassandra: Akamai Warns of Malware - Android and Jailbroken iOS Devices

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By Graham K. Rogers


Before you read the shock, horror headlines about malware for iPhones, the malware discussed below does not affect the millions of iOS devices that are being used without the users "removing limitations and security checks" - jailbreaking.

Akamai have released information about a remote-access Trojan for mobile devices, named Xsser mRAT which targets mobile devices and installs remote access Trojans to phish for login credentials.

The press release from Akamai states that this malware is "spread through man-in-the-middle and phishing attacks and may involve cellphone tower eavesdropping for location-specific attacks". As with other malicious attacks reported recently, it impersonates or bypasses app stores tricking users by social engineering into downloading unverified apps that install malicious applications. An example is a fake Flappy Birds app.

This malware was only seen on Android devices in the past but now those iOS devices that have been jailbroken are also included in the advisory. Akamai suggests that prevention is better than the cure: "Virtual private networks (VPN), two-factor authentication, peer-to-peer proximity networking and commercial phone security applications can provide some protection."

Or using an iPhone that has not been jailbroken, we presume.

More information on the malware threat, is available on the Akamai site.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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