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mRAT spyware bypasses mobile enterprise controls

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Mobile remote access Trojan (mRAT) infections are increasing and bypassing mobile enterprise security controls, putting businesses at risk of cyber espionage, research has revealed.

mRATs are capable of intercepting third-party applications such as WhatsApp, despite guarantees of encrypted communications, the study of 2 million smartphone users by Lacoon Mobile Security found.

The research also showed that mRATs are similarly able to bypass security controls in mobile device management (MDM) systems, which a growing number of businesses rely on for mobile security.

mRATs are designed to carry out cyber espionage and typically enable eavesdropping on calls and meetings, extracting information from email and text messages and location tracking of executives.

The spyware requires a backdoor for installation, through the rooting of Google Android or the jailbreaking of Apple iOS devices.

The research found that mRATs can bypass rooting and jailbreaking detection mechanisms installed on handsets, with 52% of infected devices found running iOS and 35% running Android.

Once the smartphone is infected, the spyware then sends mobile content – such as encrypted emails and messages – to the attacker’s command and control (C&C) servers.

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