Please note that the name of the malware discussed in the article below has been changed by the security researchers from ‘Soundminer’ to ‘Soundcomber,’ to avoid potential trademark issues with the “Soundminer” name. The malware discussed in the article is not related to or connected with Soundminer Inc., a Canadian firm specializing in the manufacture and sale of audio software to manage audio files.
We introduce Soundcomber, a “sensory malware” for smartphones that uses the microphone to steal private information from phone conversations. Soundcomber is lightweight and stealthy. It uses targeted profiles to locally analyze portions of speech likely to contain information such as credit card numbers. It evades known defenses by transferring small amounts of private data to the malware server utilizing smartphone-specific covert channels. Additionally, we present a general defensive architecture that prevents such sensory malware attacks.
Our research paper, which was presented at NDSS 2011:
Roman Schlegel, Kehuan Zhang, Xiaoyong Zhou, Mehool Intwala, Apu Kapadia, and XiaoFeng Wang, “Soundcomber: A Stealthy and Context-Aware Sound Trojan for Smartphones,” In Proceedings of the 18th Annual Network & Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS ’11), pp. 17–33, San Diego, CA, February 6–9, 2011.
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This research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation under grants CNS-0716292 and CNS-1017782. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.