Like their movie namesake, five new software apps can make all your Android smartphone data gone in 60 seconds.
When installed on a phone running Google's Android software, the apps silently upload the phone's information, including contacts, text messages, call logs and browser history, and send the batch of data to a remote server. The whole process, from installation to theft, takes less than 60 seconds, the security firm Bitdefender reported.
The app developer who released the tools — Bitdefender identified the tools as Android.Spyware.GoneSixty.Gen — said he did so for "study" purposes, but as with any software capable of being used deviously, it's only a matter of time before online criminals start using them in attacks.
That the data-stealing apps are easy to use doesn’t help either.
"All one needs to do is install on the victim's phone one of the apps, run it, and memorize a 5-digit code," Bitdefender explained.
To access the stolen data, the culprit then goes to the developer's site — Bitdefender did not name the developer or the apps — and enters the code, along with a $5 fee. From there, all the data is up for grabs.
These devious smartphone hacking tools can also be used to access a person's corporate data kept on their phone. As Bitdefender wrote, "a pry tool like this can compromise an entire business in the process."
Whereas a reminder such as "use common sense" is applicable in many cases to avoid identity theft, these sketchy apps call for a different type of protection, namely keeping your phone to yourself, not leaving it unattended and not storing any sensitive information on it.
Also, these apps highlight the need for running strong anti-virus software on your mobile phone.