Most of us know just how important it is to have up to date antivirus software on your computer to ensure that your hardware is protected from such nasties as viruses and malware. This next piece of malware known as “visual malware” has been developed to reside quietly within your Android phone, all the while sending information back to a central server.
It’s a scary piece of malware that was developed by the US Naval Surface Warfare center and for now it is being viewed as just a proof of concept. The way this malware works is it would be packaged with a legitimate Android app such as a camera app. When a user downloads and installs the app, they would be giving permissions to this embedded malware to take pictures and subsequently send them. Once PlaceRaider has the necessary approval, it will mute the sound so that you do not hear the shutter sound. PlaceRaider will then take pictures at random intervals recording both the date/time that the picture was taken as well as the position of the phone at the time of the picture. All of this information is then uploaded to a central server where the pictures are converted into a 3D layout of the unsuspecting victim’s room. With this information, an attacker could case a room out as well as potentially steal any information from documents that might have been snapped in the picture.
The developers do say that one way to protect yourself against virtual theft apps such as this is by ensuring that you always have antivirus software and that your shutter audio is always on.