Counterfeit Jay-Z App Pushes Malware That Calls Out NSA Spying Scandal On Independence Day

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News Posted: Thu, Jul 4 2013 2:56 PM

I'm not sure we needed another example of just how opportunistic malware creators can be, but thanks to Android.AntiObscan, we got one. This is a piece of malware that's been floating around the Web recently that mimics Jay-Z's brand-new album app, Magna Carta Holy Grail. Weeks before its launch, this album hit the headlines in a big way due to a Samsung deal that would see 1 million Galaxy device owners receive the album for free (in effect making the album Platinum certified even before its release). That, along with the fact that we're dealing with Jay-Z here, is enough grab a lot of people's attention.

As its name suggests, Android.AntiObscan refers to government spying. This is further proven by the fact that while the malware app acts and looks like Jay-Z's official one to compliment the album, on July 4th, there's an extra little treat. On that day (aka: today), the phone's wallpaper will change to one featuring president Barack Obama with the phrase, "YES WE SCAN", above his head (a phrase coined not long after Edward Snowden's NSA leaks).

It all seems rather humorous, and hints to the fact that this isn't a malicious piece of software after all, but one that's meant to clue some unassuming people into the problems at hand with government spying. You could argue that going the malware route is hardly the best one, though, as you're effectively disregarding someone's security just to get your message across (it's even a bit ironic).

Nonetheless, some security firms are encouraging people who have it to uninstall, as it's not yet established whether or not the app does in fact have some malicious intent. What this issue really highlights, to me, is that you have to be careful with installing apps outside of the app store - especially those based on very current events.

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AKnudson replied on Thu, Jul 4 2013 11:11 PM

that is an incredibly ironic way to fight immoral/unjust breaches of privacy. I wonder if the person who created the app realizes that.

Its a serious issue being dealt with, i doubt that this particular bug had much great affect.

A sort of similar incidence happened with the Soccer World Cup website not to long ago. The website was hacked and played a continuous reel of Brazilian police throwing tear gas into peaceful demonstrators.

That one had much more effect on me than "yes we scan"

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A mock version of FIFA's World Cup 2014 site also made its way across the net. When you went to it, it'd show the president Sepp Blatter dancing in the middle of the screen... essentially showing what kind of mockery FIFA is.

I agree with you... this is an odd move to try to tell people how they're being breached (or trust, essentially).

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