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Russian gang steals money and passwords from Android with sophisticated 'iBanking' malware

Android users are being targeted by cybercriminals in one of the most sophisticated attacks of its kind to date.

The 'iBanking' malware attempts to steal login details and cash through online banking by masquerading as an authentic social network, banking or security application.

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According to Symantec, it was originally being sold for up to $5,000 (£3,000), but the number of attacks has risen substantially after the source code was leaked online in February. The Russian gang responsible for it is also providing iBanking updates and technical support in a software-as-a-service model.

Once installed on a device, the malicious software seizes banking passwords and other sensitive information as they are sent through SMS. It also gives hackers the freedom to choose between online and offline control, as attacks can be instigated through HTTP too.

Further intrusive capabilities include intercepting all text messages, uploading content information, viewing location data, accessing files and stealing information about the device itself.

Android users are being warned to do all they can do protect their personal information. This includes never using SMS to share sensitive data and only downloading apps from the Google Play store.

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This comes as a major blow to Google, which also doubles up as a boost to Apple, which boasts that its mobile software is more secure than its rival's.

Updates and new features are still being added by the gang, with a BlackBerry version also believed to be in development.