Android Users Beware: MonitorMinor Can Be Used to Spy on You

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Category: Badware News

Have you used MonitorMinor to spy on someone? Or did you discover it installed on your own device? In the latter case, someone was using the app to spy on you. In any case, this tool is unreliable, incredibly intrusive, and quite possibly, illegal to use. That is because this application gives the spy – which is the person using it – immense power. It can help them read messages and emails, record audio, and spy on the victim via the camera. Without a doubt, this is not the tool that could be installed and used willy-nilly. The problem is that if someone decides to install it, there is a good chance that they do not care about the person’s security anyway. At the time of research, MonitorMinor could not be downloaded from its official website anymore, but that does not mean that it is not active on someone’s device.

MonitorMinor was created to gather very sensitive information. The researchers who uncovered the suspicious activity of the app inform that it can record browsing history from Chrome, find contact information, check system logs, as well as hijack the integrated microphone and cameras to spy on users. It was also found to be capable of extracting the /data/system/gesture.key file from the device to discover the hash sum of the screen lock pattern or password. With this information at hand, the spy could even unlock the device. This, of course, is useful only if the spy has physical access to the device, and if they were able to plant MonitorMinor on it, they must have had access to it before. This already gives a lot of power to the spy, but what is most disconcerting is that the app can be used in much more intrusive ways as well.

As we mentioned already, the app could capture video using the integrated cameras and audio using the microphone. That means that those using MonitorMinor could listen in on private phonecalls. The camera access could give spies the privilege to see what the person is doing. For example, it could record when the victim is scrolling through Instagram, watching YouTube videos, or perhaps doing something more private. MonitorMinor is also heavily focused on monitoring chats, messages, and email communications that are exchanged on a few specific apps, which include LINE: Free Calls & Messages, Gmail, Zalo – Video Call, Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Hangouts, Viber, Hike News & Content, Skype, Snapchat, JusTalk, and BOTIM. If the victim has any of these apps installed, and if they use them to chat with friends, communicate with coworkers, or deal with purchase orders, for example, the spy can read the messages/emails and extract sensitive information from them.

Normally, information on apps is only accessible to their users and service providers, but MonitorMinor has the status of a Super-User (US), which means that it has root access within the system. This is what makes this monitoring tool particularly dangerous and intrusive. If a parent or an employer is using this tool to spy on children or employees, perhaps they do not mean ill will, and perhaps they would not use sensitive information against the targets. However, it is always possible that someone with no personal connection to the victim could employ MonitorMinor. In some cases, malicious apps are placed before the person even purchases the device. In other cases, they can be placed during repairs conducted by an unreliable party. This is why it is a must to refrain from giving unreliable parties access to any personal device.

So, whether you have to decided to use MonitorMinor or someone is using the app to spy on you, you should distance yourself from this precarious app as soon as possible. Resetting the device to factory settings might be the only logical thing to do, but it is always best to take the device to a certified, reputable professional, who will be able to ensure that you device is clean, that stalkerware/spyware does not exist, and that you can use your mobile device without the fear that someone is watching every move.

Reference

Chebyshev, V. March 16, 2020. MonitorMinor: vicious stalkerware?. SecureList.

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