Plan by intelligence agencies to hack Google and Samsung app stores revealed

Kye White /

Australia’s spy agencies, along with those of the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, planned to hijack the Google and Samsung app stores to implant spyware on phones.

A top secret document, obtained by CBC News shows the Five Eyes intelligence alliance exploited weaknesses in UC Browser and planned to hack into smartphones via links to Google and Samsung app stores.

The goal of tapping into UC Browser, a popular app in China and India that’s growing in North America, was to collect data on suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets

Several workshops in late 2011 and early 2012 were held in Australia and Canada, where a team searched for ways to implant spyware on smartphones by intercepting the transmissions sent when downloading or updating apps.

The alliance has an agreement not to spy on each other’s citizens, thus the program focused its attention on servers non-Five Eyes countries, including France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Cuba, Morocco, the Bahamas and Russia.

Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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