Italian spyware targeted Apple, Android phones: Google

Tech giant Google said an Italian vendor used a “combination of tactics, including drive-by downloads” to target mobile users on both iOS and Android devices in Italy and Kazakhstan.

The report said RCS Lab developed tools to spy on devices. Google said it had earlier testified at the EU Parliamentary hearing on “Big Tech and Spyware” about the work it has done to “monitor and disrupt the thriving industry”.

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RCS Lab said it complies with European Union and will help to investigate the cybercrime. 

Google said it has taken steps to protect the Android operating system. The development amid Israel’s NSO’s Pegasus spyware which allegedly targeted journalists, activists and dissidents.

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Google said the spyware spread by getting people to click on links in messages. “Once clicked, the page attempted to get the user to download and install a malicious application on either Android or iOS,” it said.

“In some cases, it worked with the target’s ISP to disable the target’s mobile data connectivity,” Google said, adding,”once disabled, the attacker would send a malicious link via SMS asking the target to install an application to recover their data connectivity.”

“Google’s threat analysis group has been tracking more than 30 vendors with varying levels of sophistication selling exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors,” it said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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