Thursday, August 27, 2015

Number of phones infected by Dendroid spying app remains unknown

An American student who hoped to sell enough malicious software to infect 450,000 Google Android smartphones pleaded guilty to a law meant to prevent hacking of phones and computers.

But how many phones were actually infected by Carnegie Mellon University student Morgan Culbertson's malicious creation remained a mystery after his court appearance before a federal judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Infected phones could be remotely controlled by others and used to spy and secretly take pictures without the phone owner's knowledge, as well as to record calls, intercept text messages and otherwise steal information the owners downloaded on the devices.

Culbertson, 20, of Churchill, Pennsylvania, faces up to 10 years in prison and US$250,000 (NZ$385,000) in fines when he's sentenced December 2. But he'll likely face probation or a short prison term under sentencing guidelines that will take into account his lack of a criminal record.

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