Russian Hackers used Android malware to track Ukrainian artillery
Android software is everywhere these days, even finding use on modern battlefields. And just like the apps on your smartphone, downloading potentially compromised .APKs from unofficial sources can lead to unforeseen consequences.
A new report from American cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike found that a hacker group known as Fancy Bear embedded a malware implant known as X-Agent into an Android app used by the Ukranian military. The group is thought to have ties to Russian authorities who supported rebel forces in Ukraine, and had previously been linked to the DNC email leaks in another report published by CrowdStrike.
From the CrowdStrike blog:
The report goes on to say that if the X-Agent malware was successfully deployed within the application, it would have allowed for accurate reconnaissance for rebel troops on the location of Ukrainian artillery positions. CrowdStrike found through open source reporting that "Ukrainian artillery forces have lost over 50% of their weapons in the 2 years of conflict and over 80% of D-30 howitzers, the highest percentage of loss of any other artillery pieces in Ukraine's arsenal." You can read the full report from CrowdStrike here.
This case is obviously a fairly extreme example of the damage hacked apps can do, but let this serve as a stern reminder to all of us about just how easy it can be to download malicious Android apps from the internet.
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Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.
This is why we can't have nice things