Rogue is An Android Malware That Gives Hackers Full Control Over a Phone: Here’s What We Know

A new type of Android malware that provides hackers with a nearly-full access to a user’s Android smartphone is doing the rounds on underground forums. Called ‘Rogue’ remote administration tool (RAT), the malware infects victims with a keylogger, allowing attackers to easily monitor the use of websites and apps in order to steal usernames and passwords, as well as more sensitive information like a user’s financial data. The malware, according to reports, is available on underground forums for as low as $29.99 (roughly Rs 2,200).

This low-cost malware threatens a full-scale takeover of a victim’s smartphone, monitoring the GPS location on the target, taking screenshots, using the camera to take pictures, secretly recording audio from calls and more. The virus does all this while being hidden from the owner of the smartphone. All an attacker needs is their own smartphone to issue commands on an infected device. This malware has been detailed by cybersecurity researchers at Checkpoint Research as a combination of two previous families of Android RATs – Cosmos and Hawkshaw – and demonstrates the evolution of malware development on the dark web.

While there is no single way in which hackers install Rogue, it is usually pushed on a victim’s smartphone either by phishing, malicious apps, or other such methods. After being downloaded on a smartphone, Rogue asks for permissions that it needs for the hacker to remotely access a smartphone. If the permissions are not granted, it will repeatedly ask the user to grant them until they do (like many other apps these days).

Once the permissions are granted, Rogue registers itself as the device administrator and hides its icon from the home screen. If the user tries to remove it as the administrator, they are met with a “Are you sure to wipe all the data?” prompt, something that mostly scares people off attempting to remove the installation, fearing they’ll wipe their entire device.

The Rogue RAT exploits Google’s Firebase service for apps in order to pretend to be a legitimate app on the device and help it remain embedded and active. Once successfully installed on a device, the malware also installs its own notification service, allowing hackers to…


The SolarWinds hack is stunning. Here’s what should be done


The information that is emerging about Russia’s extensive cyberintelligence operation against the United States and other countries should be increasingly alarming to the public. The magnitude of the hacking, now believed to have affected more than 250 federal agencies and businesses — primarily through a malicious update of the SolarWinds network management software — may have slipped under most people’s radar during the holiday season, but its implications are stunning.

According to a Washington Post report, this is a massive intelligence coup by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). And a massive security failure on the part of the United States is also to blame. Our insecure internet infrastructure has become a critical national security risk — one that we need to take seriously and spend money to reduce.

President-elect Joe Biden’s initial response spoke of retaliation, but there really isn’t much the United States can do beyond what it already does. Cyberespionage is business as usual among countries and governments, and the United States is aggressively offensive in this regard. We benefit from the lack of norms in this area and are unlikely to push back too hard because we don’t want to limit our own offensive actions.

Biden took a more realistic tone last week when he spoke of the need to improve US defenses. The initial focus will likely be on how to clean the hackers out of our networks, why the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command failed to detect this intrusion and whether the 2-year-old Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has the resources necessary to defend the United States against attacks of this caliber. These are important discussions to have, but we also need to address the economic incentives that led to SolarWinds being breached and how that insecure software ended up in so many critical US government networks.

Software has become incredibly complicated. Most of us almost don’t know all of the software running on our laptops and what it’s doing. We don’t know where it’s connecting to on the internet — not even which countries it’s connecting to — and what data it’s sending. We…


There are more heavy-vehicle accidents during the MCO despite fewer cars on the road, here’s why

We would think that COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO) would result in less traffic on the roads, and less road accidents because of it. While it is true that there are significantly less vehicles on the road this year compared to last year, PLUS informs that there is a 5% increase of accidents involving heavy vehicles compared to 2019.

“Corporations and businesses were impacted as the MCO demanded for physical distancing and Work From Home (WFH) order had to be followed as the National Security Council (NSC) the Ministry of Health established the precedent to lessen and eliminate human contact and interaction,” said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Chairman of the Alliance of Safe Community during PLUS’s first virtual Safety Day.

Tan Sri Lee mentioned that WFH led to many more food deliveries. With lesser cars on the road and increased food orders, Tan Sri Lee observed that many “rushed in delivering food and flouting traffic laws, like beating the red lights”.

Datuk Azman Ismail, PLUS Managing Director, also noted that accidents involving heavy vehicles (Class 2 & 3) had increased about 5% as compared to 2019. He said that it could be due to “long and extended working hours as well as fatigue”.

Dr Amer Siddiq, Director at UMCares and Consultant Psychiatrist USMC, mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic had took its toll on mental health. He revealed that “researchers have discovered that poor mental health might lead to increase in accidents”.

“Everyone has mental health, but some require deeper intervention and timely intervention is crucial as it impacts the safety on the roads and highways. We have seen some driving behaviours that are often evident on municipality roads have also transcended onto the highway. That is where HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment) comes in and today the H is not only physical health but mental as well,” he added.

How could they make the roads safer?

Datuk Suret Singh, Chairman of the Road Safety Research Institute (MIROS), says that there needs to be a “serious step up on scheduled and high risk operator audits to enforce compliance of the Industrial Code of Safety Practices (ICOP)”. He stressed that traffic…


The hack by Russia is huge. Here’s why it matters

It’s an espionage campaign so broad that security experts say we’re still uncovering who was affected and what was stolen.

A massive computer breach pinned on a Russian intelligence agency allowed hackers to spend months exploring U.S. government and private company computers, undetected. Federal agencies like the Treasury and Commerce Departments were hit, as well as thousands of civilian networks. Hackers apparently got into networks through an update from SolarWinds, a software company.

Recovering from the attack won’t be easy. Experts say companies and agencies can either spend time trying to eradicate every trace of the hackers and identify every possible backdoor they might have built during the months they had unfettered access. Or, they can burn it all down and start over.

What are the consequences to the attack? And is this the new world of spying? Tuesday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller will talk with two security experts who say America needs to get ready for more attacks like this.


  • Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

  • Molly McKew is a writer and an expert on information warfare.

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