Beware of a unique surveillance malware that invades your privacy by stealthily going through your phones. Dubbed as Monokle, this intrusive malware can retrieve the history of your downloaded apps including messages from social media apps, and also record home screens when phones are locked. It can also alarmingly access your passwords and even go through predictive-text dictionaries to learn your interests. Additionally, Monokle also has the ability to detect location and install trusted certificates, allowing root access to your device.
This ‘surveillanceware’ stays hidden inside fake versions of real apps catered to specific interests or regions, which makes it unknowingly easy to fall into its trap. Monokle has been active since 2016, and was believed to be developed by a Russian defence contractor. Currently, Monokle targets Android devices but researchers are lead to believe that there could be an iOS version in the future, as several samples of the malware have unused commands that could be used to target iPhones next.
To avoid surveillanceware or any other threats to your mobile device, always ensure that you:
- Double-check any apps and their developers before downloading them to ensure they are genuine
- Avoid apps from third-party vendors
- Invest in security for your mobile phone such as Trend Micro Mobile Security, which can scan your apps in the Google Play Store before downloading
Learn more about the comprehensive protection that Trend Micro Mobile Security can provide for your mobile phones and tablets here.