Beware: Twitter Account Can Control Your Android

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Twitter has a long history of being used as both good and bad as it has the ability to connect millions and let them communicate faster than what was possible before. Now however, the micro-blogging site is being used to make some particularly evil connections, according to Digital Trends (via Yahoo).

Using Twitter to spread malware

There is a new type of mobile malware that uses Twitter to control an Android device-based botnet, according to a recent blog post from ESET. The botnet is the first known device malware to use this type of social media account rather than a command-and-control server to exercise control over infected devices.

This Android-based botnet is called Twitoor. This Trojan virus lies dormant on Android mobiles and waits for commands from a malicious Twitter account. These commands can either switch to another command-and-control Twitter account or tell Twitoor to download and install other apps, mostly of the data-stealing mobile banking malware variety, the report notes.

Lukas Stefanko, the ESET malware researcher who discovered the app, said, “Using Twitter instead of command-and-control servers is pretty innovative for an Android botnet.”

The app apparently has been around for about a month, and some experts think that handsets are infected with malicious URLs or text messages even though the app cannot be downloaded from the Google Play store.

Stefanko said that going forward, Android users can expect the bad guys to make an attempt to deploy LinkedIn or use Facebook statuses or other social networks. Stefanko concluded that Twitoor serves as just another example of how hackers and cybercriminals are bringing innovation to their business.

IS followers switching to Telegram

In other Twitter news, Islamic State and its followers are turning to private messaging app Telegram rapidly, as noticed by Western nations.

“Encrypted communications among terrorists constitute a challenge during investigations,” France and Germany said in a joint statement. “Solutions must be found to enable effective investigation… while at the same time protecting the digital privacy of citizens by ensuring the availability of strong encryption.”

IS followers have turned increasingly virulent on Telegram after Twitter closed more than 300,000 accounts suspected of spreading extremism ideology. Reports show that IS followers have laid out detailed plans on private Telegram channels to conduct bombing attacks and poison Westerners.

Mohammed Reza Jamshid, a computer security analyst in Iran, said Telegram is the best available option for IS as tracking down groups and users on it could be very difficult, according to Voa News.


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