A new word has started to appear on the Internet: Hacktivism. This term is used to describe any activist movement that has no intention for revenue or gain. The goal of such a movement is to say something and ensure that the world hears it.
Although the message sent by the activist organization might receive sympathy, it’s not without cost to others. Symantec (News - Alert) has focused its attention on a mass-mailer and downloader Trojan that binds with an Android application.
A Trojan is a sort of malware code embedded in an application or running as a stand-alone application, which infects the user, making the device act in ways it wasn’t intended to. The user infected by a Trojan becomes a sort of pawn for the hacker that created it. In this case, the Trojan uses the Android (News - Alert) device to send SMS messages and emails with links related to a cause.
This particular Trojan took as its host a pirated compass application, known as “AlSalah,” mainly targeting an Islamic audience. The infected version of the application was only putting focus into Middle Eastern problems. The official application doesn’t have any vulnerability to the Trojan and a user can only get infected by downloading the wrong version. The infected version of the application expands some permissions that don’t appear in the official version.
A deeper look into the Trojan shows that it focuses mostly on issues in Bahrain. If the infected Android device “tells” the Trojan that it’s in Bahrain, the Trojan will download a PDF to a portable storage card on the device. The PDF is a report showing research by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry about human rights violations. The conclusion seems to be that the group that created the Trojan wants to raise awareness of how people are being stripped of their rights in the country.
Miguel Leiva-Gomez is a professional writer with experience in computer sciences, technology, and gadgets. He has written for multiple technology and travel outlets and owns his own tech blog called The Tech Guy, where he writes educational, informative, and sometimes comedic articles for an audience that is less versed in technology.
Edited by Jennifer Russell