New Cloak and Dagger Malware Attacks Discovered

There’s a new form of malware attacks going by the name of Cloak and Dagger.

Oftentimes when speaking of new malware, we’re speaking of specific attacks. This time it’s not a version, but a type. The type, discovered by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech, is called “Cloak and Dagger” because the attacks are taking place undercover without the user’s knowledge.

These attacks utilize two permissions android permissions. The “System Alert Window” which allows apps to draw on top of other apps. This is a permission which the Google OS automatically grants to apps. With this permission, malware attacks can overlay harmless looking screens on a device, tricking he user to click on items underneath the screen that aren’t that harmless. The “Bind Accessibility Service” allows for these attacks to take place while the screen remains turned off. Among functions which the accessibility permission allows? Injecting events, unlock the phone, and interact with any other app all while the screen remains off. Any number of malware attacks can utilize these features of Android to allow attacks to take place without the user ever knowing it’s taking place.

Google is already working on fixing the issue. A spokesman states, “We’ve been in close touch with the researchers and, as always, we appreciate their efforts to help keep our users safer. We have updated Google Play Protect — our security services on all Android devices with Google Play — to detect and prevent the installation of these apps. Prior to this report, we had already built new security protections into Android O that will further strengthen our protection from these issues, moving forward.”

Oftentimes when news of malware attacks occur, we advise users to be wary of permission which apps are requesting. In this case, these are permissions we may not have the opportunity to grant or deny. As always, be sure of which apps you are downloading. Make sure it is from a trusted developer, and read reviews of other users. If an app does not actually provide the functionality as advertised, you will most certainly see reviews stating this fact.



BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • NoseyNick

    Added to the next version of DTEK, by any chance? :-D

  • AnDrewiD

    Oh, quelle surprise! Another android malware. Oh, by the way the sky is blue and Apple products are overpriced for what they are. :D

  • Gabriel

    is it just me, or is it that Apple is looking more secure than any Android these few days!

    • Nah. It’s just you. Lol.

      Android is the #1 mobile OS in terms of market share. In a huge way. Of course it will have the most attacks attempted.

      The difference is Google actually reacts to these attacks. Fairly quickly. Apple is an open book in terms of vulnerabilities, yet Apple only fixes it if it makes the news. And even then, the fix usually has to wait for the next OS version.

  • jefftam

    Will DTEK see the permissions on this and allow you to turn them off?

  • Gabriel

    I want to ask all those actively using black droid especially Brad, how do you deal with messaging apps opening in the multitasking page when you just want to reply to a single message! not asking to smite anybody please.

    • You mean as opposed to the quick replies of BB10? If so, honestly, I just got used to it. BlackBerry Android is a different OS than BB10 so things work different. (I’m sure if Dave reads this he’ll be calling me Captain Obvious again). But there were a lot of things that BlackBerry built into BB10 that was just better than other platforms. Quick replies was one of those things. Choosing to move from BB10 to BlackBerry Android, I knew I would be giving up a lot, while also gaining a lot. For me what I gained was more than what I lost, for other’s I know, the gain isn’t worth the loss.

      • Gabriel

        ok, been thinking about how to deal with that. just got the priv and thats one of my greatest anoyances.

        • If you’re just now moving directly from BB10 to BlackBerry Android, expect a few annoyances. But I’m betting you’ll find enough to love on BlackBerry Android to make up for those annoyances.