Computer security experts have issued a warning about a convincing fake version of the Netflix app for Android – which is actually spy software made by hackers.
The app allows hackers to activate the microphone and camera on infected devices – potentially taking obscene pictures.
It also harvests data from the device – giving hackers access to photos, text messages and contacts lists.
The app also has the ability to delete antivirus applications off an infected device – and send files to hackers over the internet.
Security experts Zscaler describe it as a ‘a well-crafted piece of spyware we’re calling SpyNote RAT’.
Shivang Desai, a security researcher at Zscaler, wrote: ‘As soon as the user clicks the spyware’s icon for the first time, nothing seems to happen and the icon disappears from the home screen.
This is a common trick played by malware developers, making the user think the app may have been removed. But, behind the scenes, the malware has not been removed; instead it starts preparing its onslaught of attacks.
‘The iOS and Android apps for Netflix are enormously popular, effectively turning a mobile device into a television with which users can stream full movies and TV programs anytime, anywhere.
‘But the apps, with their many millions of users, have captured the attention of the bad actors, too, who are exploiting the popularity of Netflix to spread malware.’
The app has been found on unofficial app stores, and Zscaler recommend only installing apps from official app stores such as Google Play.