Hackers have cloned the Android app of US rapper Jay-Z and published messages criticising the American government.
Cloned versions of the official app, used to promote the artist’s new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, have been made available on unofficial sites and contain code that unlocked anti-Obama messages on July 4.
The hacking attack is reportedly connected to details recently leaked regarding US government surveillance.
McAfee found the app on third-party Android app sites and, in a blogpost, McAfee researcher Irfan Asrar said the program initially appeared to do everything that the official app did.
He explained, though, that the code added to the cloned version copied and sent information to a command-and-control server every time the phone was re-started. As soon as it made contact, the app attempted to download extra code that included the anti-government images and messages.
A timer in this extra code waited for July 4, then changed the app’s wallpaper from pictures of album artwork and Jay-Z to that of President Obama wearing headphones. Appearing above his image were the words ‘Yes we scan’, believed to be a reference to the NSA’s electronic surveillance. It seemingly also plays on the slogan that President Obama campaigned under ‘Yes, we can’.
Mr Asrar said: "The image and the service name NSAListener suggest a hacktivist agenda, but we haven’t ruled out the possibility that additional malware may target financial transactions or other data."
He added that users should avoid downloading apps from unofficial sources and ensure security software is kept up to date.
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