Google Identifies Israeli Tracking App that Quietly Records Video Over Your Smartphone Camera
Google has recently revealed the identity of a tracking application used to monitor phone calls and record camera footage over iOS and Android.
The application, called Chrysaor, was discovered by Google in partnership with Lookout. The report also revealed that the monitoring application has links to Pegasus, an enterprise-grade tracking software made by an Israel-based company named NSO Group Technologies.
Although Google revealed the identity of the app, the app never actually appeared on the Google Play Store. It also didn’t appear on the iTunes App Store. Instead, the app appeared exclusively on third party app stores.
The tracking software did way more than just monitor phone calls: it also recorded internet history, tracked SMS messages, and even spied on users through their smartphones’ camera and microphone.
The Tracking Application Was Spotted in Countries Worldwide
Although the application was developed by an Israeli company, the attack didn’t take place exclusively in Israel. Instead, Google and Lookout announced that Chrysaor had been spotted in countries around the world – including on iPhones in Israel, Georgia, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, and others.
The Tracking Software is Highly Targeted, and May Be Designed to Track Specific Individuals
Before you start scanning your phone for a tracking app called Chrysaor, consider this: the app was only spotted on 36 devices worldwide.
Yes, that’s right: it was spotted on just 36 devices. Not 36,000. Just 36.
This has led many people in the intelligence community to assume that Chrysaor was targeted towards specific individuals – say, terrorists, politicians, or high net worth individuals.
NSO Group Technologies is best-known for creating the Pegasus tracking software, which they sold to intelligence agencies around the world. That’s why many people believe Chrysaor was used for similar purposes – the two tracking apps have a lot in common, according to the report from Google and Lookout.
The Chrysaor Tracking App Has a Self-Destruct Mode
One of the most innovative features of Chrysaor is its self-destruct mode.
“If it feels like it’s going to be found, it removes itself,” said Lookout mobile security researcher Michael Flossman in an initial report on Chrysaor.
This is why it took researchers so long to discover the tracking software. If the software detected someone accessing core files or messing with the device in other ways, it may have silently removed itself.
In any case, today’s tracking software is more sophisticated than it’s ever been before. A growing number of tracking apps now have the ability to silently activate the microphone or camera, then record everything going on around the phone.
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Fortunately, SpyStealth is much more honest about its intentions. SpyStealth is a mobile tracking software capable of tracking SMS and monitoring other phone activity. Parents use it to track their child’s activity, for example.
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