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smstrackers   , 18

from Manila


Google's Android Team Track and Neutralized Lipizzan Malware Rapidly

It's been days since Google introduced Play Protect feature to identify malware on Play Store and it has already brought success for the company. Thanks to its sophisticated detection system in Play Store, the Android team has found a spyware named as the "Lipizzan" and killed it before it could harm a billion of Android users.

The Lipizzan, classified as deadly multi-stage spyware by Google, is asserted to have capacities of doing unapproved surveillance of user activities on an Android telephone, including SMS tracking, location data, photos, emails, voice calls, and basically any other file formats.



It has become exposed there were around 20 applications like Lipizzan on Google Play, but fortunately, it had just been installed in less than 100 devices around the world. Not long after the detection, Google blocked the spyware developers and applications from the Android ecosystem.


Likewise, Google Play Protect feature informed all affected device owners and effectively removed the Lipizzan applications. Additionally, having acquired important insights on Lipizzan, Google Play Protect has been updated with another system to recognize similar applications and impede future infiltration. 


Now with the launching of Google Play Protect, the company can recognize the malware faster than ever in recent memory. Previously, sophisticated spyware used to go undiscovered for a while, on some occasions more than a year and comprising security of millions of Android phones.


How does Lipizzan function?

Codes in the Lipizzan application was a neat work of the notorious cyber arms organization, Equus Technologies, according to Google's investigation report. Described as an "advanced two-stage spyware tool", Lipizzan is conveyed through various channels, including the official Google Play Store, like we mentioned above.

There it can be masked as a harmless application, for example, Backup or Cleaner apps, concealing the malicious idea of the software, thereby easily fooling users to installing them. Altogether, about 20 different apps were designed to distribute the malware. The malicious applications were able to sidestep Google Play protection features because the compromise doesn't happen until the application is downloaded onto the mobile phone.

In any case, once gaining access, Lipizzan downloads and loads a second "license verification" stage which would survey the infected phone. At that point, it is attached and connected to a Command & Control server, and then utilized for SMS tracking as well as recording calls. 


Which applications were attacked in Lipizzan-infected Android phones?

Once getting access into Android mobile, Lipizzan can illegally track and steal data about the target's emails, SMS, withdraw data about contacts, listen in and records calls. It can also take screenshots and record sound and video, and tracks the location of the user.

Therefore, it is SMS tracking application which can also retrieve information from commonly used applications, including Viber, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail, Snapchat, KakaoTalk and a few others.

Users are advised to download applications exclusively from the Google Play Store and Android users are also asked to keep their phone patched with the latest version of the operating system. However, Google has guaranteed it will continue to improve its security check with the latest detection tools.