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Think before you click! Latest unearthed mobile hack attempts with one click execution

Think before you click! Latest unearthed mobile hack attempts with one click execution

Mobile has been used by the different sections of the society due to its strong capabilities, versatile approach and wide ranging usage. While it has added convenience to the modern life, the wide popularity of mobile has also attracted the attention of malicious hackers to steal and misuse vital information of a user. The scope and extent of such hackers was suggested by one of the recent incident in Tibet:

Exploiting vulnerabilities in mobiles of upper crust of Tibetan society
In one of the shocking revelations it was found that the Tibetan residents from the upper crust of the society were victimized by what can be called the most advanced attack that used trusted apps like Facebook chat and Whatsapp messenger as its unsuspicious carriers.

Details of the hack attempt
Named as Poison Carp by researchers who unearthed the hacking conspiracy, the modus operandi, technology, and operational efficiency prove the prowess and professional expertise of the hackers. They masqueraded as the journalist to win people’s trust before inviting them for open messages. Multiple factors point out decent evidence of the Chinese government’s role in sponsoring the hack.

It is worth mentioning that the similar type of hack was unearthed earlier when the phones/ Android phones of Uighurs were targeted using Volexity and Google Project Zero. The iPhone malware shared in both the attacks is the same. Additionally, in both, the attacks use a specific website as a launching carrier for infecting targeted Android phones with malicious code.

Modus Operandi
When the users clicked the malware link the malicious code would start functioning and attempt to discover the loopholes iOS operating system or Android browser. Luckily though no new vulnerabilities were present except in the single instance where hackers discovered a Chrome bug for which the patch wasn’t available to the end-users. It is worth mentioning that the hack might have been successful in those cases where the users hadn’t updated their Chrome or iOS operating system. In such cases, the detailed information like contacts, text/app message, call history, email IDs and location could have been stolen by the hackers.

In an earlier attack sharing some key similarities the office belonging to Dalai Lama, Tibetan Human rights groups and the Tibetan n Government were targeted with several repetitive attempts.

 

Innovative approach
While such attacks are not new to the Tibet that has been a target of similar hacking and data theft attempts, it is the most advanced and sophisticated attack among all as it just needed a single click to execute its hidden tasks.

 

Official announcements
The Apple Company officially confirmed that the iOS has already been patched against the latest security vulnerabilities. Thus the users who have already updated their iOS version are out of the danger zone.

A report from Google also confirmed that the issues or loopholes had already bee updated and the updated version was protected against the same.

A real life incident
In one of the documented case of attack the Tibetan parliamentarians Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari got a Whatsapp message in March from Amnesty International, Hong Kong that was the fake identity of the contact. As per the message the sender wanted to gather information about self-immolation protest in Tibetans. In support of the message the sender also set a link that contained the malicious code that just needed a single click to execute its task (exploiting vulnerabilities). While immediately sent t to the TibCERT she isn’t yet sure whether she had clicked it before sending it to TIbCERT.

When it was found to be an attempt to attack the parliamentarian blocked the number. However, several months down the line she again received another link sharing strong similarities with the previous link, this time the advertised purport of the message was regarding some information on Dalai Lama. Upon investigation by TibCERT, it was again found to be a hacking attempt that used Whatsapp message as a carrier.

The targets include Tibetan activist groups as well as the Tibetan government in exile and it suggests that there could be the hand of China behind these attacks.

A new type of spyware
Unlike the contemporary hacking attempts on Google OS where the attackers use to hack its core, this attack worked on a different modus operandi where the spyware was designed to pierce directly into the apps like Whatsapp and facebook. It strongly implies the use of innovative Android spyware.

Another factor that asserts the innovative technology is that upon being clicked inside the Whatsapp messages, the malicious code would automatically run into the inbuilt browser of facebook to retrieve the vial facebook information like contacts and message histories.

Conclusion

A recent shocking discovery of the mobile hacking attempt in Tibet reasserted the scope, impact and possible damages of the latest cyber-attacks. In this incident the hackers were able to get the maximum vital information stored on social media accounts with the help of just single click. The attackers used Whatsapp messenger as a tool to send malicious code through messages.

 

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