A new variant of SonicSpy was recently discovered on Google Play, one of over a thousand apps that have been tied to the malware family since February, according to researchers from Lookout published in a blog post today.
The SonicSpy variant most recently found on the Google Play app store is called Soniac and is marketed as a messaging app. Although Soniac will perform some messaging functions, through the use of a customized version of Telegram, its author's intent is to hijack a user's Android phone. Some of Soniac's capabilities include silently recording audio, taking photos, making outbound calls, and sending text messages to phone numbers that the attacker specifies, according to Lookout.
Samples of SonicSpy feature a number of similarities to another malware family called SpyNote, which emerged in mid-2016, according to Lookout. These similarities include running on a non-standard 2222 port, relying heavily on dynamic DNS services, and sharing similar code traits. As a result, researchers believe the same actor may be involved with both malware families.
Lookout researchers believe the actors behind SonicSpy may be prolific because they are using an automated process to churn out the variants, the company says.
Read more about SonicSpy here.