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Hermit, Italian spyware

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After Pegasus comes Hermit, its Italian twin brother: new spyware for iOS and Android

Google through a joint research with Lookout Threat Lab has launched a global warning related to a dangerous spyware that is being used by governments to steal information from cell phones. This has been dubbed Hermit and can already be considered a new Pegasus that attacks both iOS and Android alike.

This spyware has allegedly been developed by the Italian company RCS Lab, and made available to various intelligence agencies and governments around the world. As of today it is known to have been acquired by both Italy and Kazakhstan.

As Google has denounced through an article, the mode of action is really sophisticated. This means that the spyware can be camouflaged behind applications that at first glance may seem completely official, such as Samsung’s official applications, messaging applications and also those of the operators that are installed to perform common settings.

The distribution is done through a simple SMS that seems to have a completely legitimate origin. But the problem is that the message is going to request to download a file in order to fix an internal bug in the device. In the end, what will be installed is this malicious application that will go unnoticed as it looks like a messaging app, operator or official Samsung.

Once the malware is already installed on the device, it will be able to access everything it contains. But it should be noted that the application itself does not include the attack tools. It acts as a simple gateway to download all the necessary exploits that will give it the necessary power to extract all the information that interests the attacker.

This is undoubtedly something really dangerous, since according to Google figures it has been possible to infect 10,000 devices per day in Europe.

Being a spyware managed by governments, they can ally with telephone operators, or force them to collaborate, in order to disconnect the victim’s phone from the Internet and thus make them fall more effectively into this trap, with a message that promises that downloading a file will get everything back to normal.

In the coming months we will surely see much more data about this spyware. Although attacks have only been detected in Italy and Kazakhstan, the fact that any government can access it makes it more than likely that its use will become more widespread, as is already the case with Pegasus.

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