VLC Media Player is one of the most popular video playing apps, and it’s completely understandable. It offers some huge benefits. But popularity is a trait that hackers often exploit for their evil schemes.
According to AndroidPolice.com, Chinese hackers of the Cicada group (aka APT10 and Stone Panda) are exploiting the famous VLC app for their cyberattacks that started last year. The discovery belongs to cybersecurity experts from Symantec.
Spying on governments
Unfortunately, spying is such a widespread phenomenon that nobody can possibly deny! The Cicada group has been exploiting VLC to launch their attacks for spying on governments and even other related organizations.
The hackers’ targets are located in several countries: Canada, the USA, Turkey, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Israel, and Montenegro.
The evil scheme works by placing a malicious file alongside the export functions of a clean version of the VLC media player. Next up, a VNC remote access server enters the game to take control of the infected device. The Sodamaster tool can also do some dirty work for evading detection, such as downloading extra packages.
Here’s how the Google Play Store page describes VLC:
VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files as well as discs, devices, and network streaming protocols.
This is the port of VLC media player to the Android™ platform. VLC for Android can play any video and audio files, as well as network streams, network shares and drives, and DVD ISOs, like the desktop version of VLC.
Keeping strong antivirus software installed on your device is pretty much your best bet for staying protected from malware. However, there’s no such thing as 100% protection, regardless of how much the developers behind antivirus programs try to convince us about the opposite.