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Criminals have increased the functionality of Android Trojans with a new strain that is capable of recording, and not just logging, conversations on compromised smartphones.

Previous mobile malware strains for Google's mobile platform had the ability to log the duration and numbers of incoming and outgoing calls. The new malware goes further than this by capturing the content of conversations before storing them on the SD-slot memory card of infected Android phones.

These conversations may then be uploaded to a server under the control of hackers, according to tests of the malware by security researchers from CA in a closed environment. "Once the malware is installed in the victim device, it drops a 'configuration' file that contains key information about the remote server and the parameters," CA researcher Dinesh Venkatesan explains.

The as-yet-unnamed malware doesn't have the ability to install by itself. Victims would need to agree to install the application, agreeing to grant it permissions including record audio, read the state of a phone and prevent it from sleeping.

As such, the malware looks like a prototype of some sort, minus the social engineering trickery to disguise it as a game or some such that users might be tricked into installing, or perhaps a tool for suspicious spouses to use against their partners.

More details of the malware, including screenshots, can be found in a blog post by CA here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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