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New Variants Of Android Spyware Are Targeting Middle East Users

Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates.

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new variants of android spyware are targeting middle east users

British security software and hardware company Sophos has recently revealed that new variants of Android spyware used by the C-23 group are actively targeting users in the Middle East.

C-23, also known as GnatSpy, FrozenCell, or VAMP, is what cybersecurity professionals refer to as an advanced persistent threat (APT) adversary. Such adversaries are typically well-funded and well-organized, which allows them to quickly evolve their tactics to overcome even the most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses.

The C-23 adversary has been known for targeting individuals in the Middle East since at least 2017, with a particular focus on the Palestinian territories.

The latest variants of its Android spyware are most likely distributed via a download link sent to victims as text messages. The link leads to a malicious app that pretends to install legitimate updates on the victim’s mobile device. When the app is launched for the first time, it requests a number of permissions that let it spy on the victim. It then disguises itself to make removal more difficult.

c-23 gnatspy frozencell vamp android spyware middle east

“The new variants use more, and more varied, disguises than previous versions, hiding behind popular app icons such as Chrome, Google, Google Play, YouTube, or the BOTIM voice-over-IP service” explain Sophos. “If targets click a fraudulent icon, the spyware launches the legitimate version of the app, while maintaining surveillance in the background”.

Also Read: Dubai Establishes $272 Million Future District Fund To Attract Tech Companies

The information the new spyware can steal includes everything from text messages to the names of installed apps to contacts from all kinds of apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp. The spyware can even dismiss notifications and toggle “Do Not Disturb” settings.

Sophos recommends Android users to never install apps from untrusted sources and avoid ignoring available OS and app updates. The company’s own mobile antivirus app, called Sophos Intercept X for Mobile, can detect the new spyware as well as all kinds of other malicious software.

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UAE Comes Out Strongly In Guinness World Records 2023

Guinness, the renowned cataloger of record-breaking events, has released its latest annual, after sifting through 40,000 applications — and the Arab world is heavily featured.

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uae comes out strongly in guinness world records 2023
Guinness

Guinness World Records, the authority on record-breaking global achievements, has just announced its latest release, “Guinness World Records 2023 (GWR2023),” which will be available online and in physical stores across the Arab region from today.

As usual, GWR 2023 features all of the latest achievements from around the world (and space!), with special features and updated graphics to bring the stories to life.

So why the interest in the latest Guinness installment? Well, it turns out the Arab Region is strongly represented in the book, with more than 50 records featured in the new edition, which is no mean feat considering the volume of competition.

“We’ve sifted through nearly 40,000 record applications over the past year to bring you Guinness World Records 2023. People from all walks of life continue to be fascinated by extremes, and we’ve received claims from across the planet – indeed, even from space! This is why I’ve said the new edition is out of this world,” says Craig Glenday, Guinness Editor in Chief.

Of interest to readers of this platform, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both get to flex their record-breaking muscles.

deepest swimming pool in the world

World’s Deepest Swimming Pool

Saudi Arabia claims the title of “Largest LED Structure and Suspended Ornament” courtesy of the Noor Riyadh Festival, as well as other weird and wonderful titles, including the “Largest Lego Formula 1 Car”, as well as perhaps more prestigious honors, such as “Largest Mirrored Building”, “Largest Clock Face”, “Tallest Lighthouse” and the “Largest Geodesic Dome”.

largest mirrored building

World’s Largest Mirrored Building

Also Read: Fan Spends 7 Years To Create Super Mario Bros 5

Not to be outdone, the UAE has claimed several humanitarian record-breaking titles, including the “Longest Video Livestream” (by The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and pan Arab influencer Hassan Suleiman), the “Largest Donation for Medical Treatment”, and the “Most Awareness Ribbons Made in One Hour”.

longest video livestream

World’s Longest Video Livestream

On the tech front, the UAE also claims several prestigious firsts, including “First 3D-Printed Laboratory”, while the world-renowned Burj Khalifa hangs on to its title of “World’s Tallest Building”.

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