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IRGC installed malware on phones of Iranian protesters following their arrest

BSI, the German cybersecurity agency, took down this week a web server used to control malware deployed by the Iranian government to spy on participants of recent anti-government protests.

The server was identified over the weekend by Hamid Kashfi, a security engineer at Trail Of Bits, who confirmed a tip that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian military, was manually installing malware on the devices of detained anti-government protesters.

Kashfi obtained multiple copies of the malware—which he later identified as a version of the L3MON Android remote access trojan—and found that all samples were communicating with a VPS server based in Germany, on which the BSI acted this week.

The researcher is now warning that even if this server is now down, the danger to protesters continues, as IRGC operators are most likely to set up a new one for subsequent deployments.

Iranians detained by the IRCG are advised to reset their smartphones as Kashfi says that the L3MON RAT has no advanced persistence capabilities, and this will remove it from compromised devices.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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