After a night-time sweep, Gurpreet Thathy was in the office yesterday. While we were waiting for a client to arrive we continued our previous discussion about mobile devices. He said he had found an old hard drive in our secure store labelled ‘Spyware’. He remembered that the applications stored on this disk were spyware/malware that he had identified throughout his investigations.
Excited by the fact that he had found the disk, he ran an emulator (virtual environment) and started up a background on what he called ‘Symbian’. Symbian is an operating system used back when Nokia mobile devices such as the Nokia-N series were becoming smart. There was a piece of software called ‘Flexispy’. This was spyware software, and when installed, it would record details of all voice calls, SMS, and GSM location information and then later send those details to the Flexispy server.
He then started talking about ‘RATS’ which I thought he was talking about a rodent for a minute, but then he explained that a RAT is a Remote-Access-Tool and the first one of these he ever saw in action was in a divorce case investigation where this tool was installed on an Android device of our client. All information was accessible on this device; however, he could not identify who installed the software, only that it was on there. This ‘RAT’ allowed the malicious actor to activate the microphone allowing them to listen in on conversations even if the user wasn’t using the phone.
Fast forward to today’s world, you now have Pegasus spyware, used by nation-states. Pegasus is spyware developed by the Israeli cyber-arms company NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android.
It continues to be challenge keeping up with the threats in the ever-changing and evolving threat landscape, which is why Valkyrie has evolved its services to constantly combat the dangers of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Simply doing one thing to combat threats is not enough and raising awareness and keeping up to date with them is vital and the first line of defence.