WhatsApp Mods Infected with CanesSpy Spyware: A Serious Privacy Breach

WhatsApp Mods Infected with CanesSpy Spyware: A Serious Privacy Breach

In a concerning development, cybersecurity researchers have recently uncovered modified versions of WhatsApp for Android, equipped with a spyware module named CanesSpy. These modified WhatsApp applications are being distributed through dubious websites advertising these modded versions and via Telegram channels predominantly used by Arabic and Azerbaijani speakers, one of which boasts a user base of two million individuals. This article explores the discovery, functionality, and potential implications of CanesSpy, emphasizing the risks to user privacy and device security.

The CanesSpy Spyware:

The CanesSpy spyware, concealed within these rogue WhatsApp mods, is designed to activate when the infected phone is powered on or connected to a charger. Once activated, it initiates contact with a command-and-control (C2) server, transmitting vital information about the compromised device. This includes details like the IMEI, phone number, mobile country code, and mobile network code. CanesSpy goes further by sending information about the victim’s contacts and accounts every five minutes and awaiting further instructions from the C2 server every minute. Importantly, this spyware module is highly configurable, allowing for actions like sending files from external storage, recording sound from the microphone, altering C2 server settings, and more.

Language Clues:

An intriguing aspect of this discovery is that all the communication between CanesSpy and the C2 server is conducted in Arabic. This linguistic clue suggests that the mastermind behind this operation is likely an Arabic speaker.

Duration and Targets:

Cybersecurity researchers have determined that CanesSpy has been active since mid-August 2023. The spyware campaign has predominantly targeted users in countries such as Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkey, and Egypt. This highlights the geographical focus of the espionage campaign.

WhatsApp’s Stance:

WhatsApp has been unequivocal about unofficial and third-party versions of its app, cautioning users that they are treated as unofficial and fake. The company emphasizes that it cannot validate the security practices of these versions and warns that using them may expose users to the risk of malware compromising their privacy and security.

A Continuing Threat:

This discovery underscores the persistent abuse of modified messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to distribute malware to unsuspecting users. Notably, last year, WhatsApp, owned by Meta, filed a lawsuit against three developers in China and Taiwan for distributing unofficial WhatsApp apps, including HeyMods, which resulted in the compromise of over one million user accounts.

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The Need for Caution:

It’s crucial for users to exercise caution and prioritize their privacy and security. WhatsApp mods are primarily distributed through third-party Android app stores that often lack rigorous screening and may not promptly remove malware. While some of these resources, such as third-party app stores and Telegram channels, are popular, popularity does not guarantee safety. Users should be aware of the risks associated with using unofficial and modified versions of messaging apps.


The discovery of CanesSpy spyware hidden within modified WhatsApp versions serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing threats to user privacy and digital security. To stay protected, users are strongly advised to use only official versions of messaging apps, exercise caution when downloading from unofficial sources, and prioritize security practices that shield their digital lives from potential threats.

Operation Chakra-II: India’s Fight Against Online Scams and Frauds

Operation Chakra-II: India's Fight Against Online Scams and Frauds

In a big move against online crooks, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently took down cybercrime operations. They called it “Operation Chakra-II.” This operation was a joint effort with other countries and tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon. Its goal was to stop cybercriminals involved in tech support scams and cryptocurrency fraud. They searched 76 places all over India, including states like Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Delhi, and West Bengal.

What Happened During the Operation?

The raids in Operation Chakra-II led to the seizure of a lot of evidence. They found 32 mobile phones, 48 laptops, hard drives, and 33 SIM cards. The Indian authorities also froze many bank accounts and took emails connected to 15 accounts. This provided crucial information about the scam operations.

Tech Support Scam Exposed

During Operation Chakra-II, they uncovered two big tech support scams. These scams pretended to be customer support for two famous multinational companies. Amy Hogan-Burney, from Microsoft, said these illegal call centers acted like they were Microsoft and Amazon support. They targeted over 2,000 customers, mostly in the U.S., but also in Canada, Germany, Australia, Spain, and the UK.

Microsoft and Amazon supported this operation because the same crooks targeted their customers. The scammers used different ways to move money they got from people in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. They tricked victims with fake computer problem messages, got them to call a toll-free number, and then scammed them for money.

Cryptocurrency Fraud Uncovered

Apart from tech support scams, the CBI found a cryptocurrency fraud operation linked to a fake crypto-mining scheme. This scheme targeted Indian people and caused losses of at least Rs. 100 crore (around $12 million). Indian authorities found 150 accounts related to this fraud, including those from shell companies and individual accounts. The scammers made up a fake cryptocurrency token, promising big profits. They even created a website to fool investors into thinking they were buying mining machines.

A Worldwide Response

Law enforcement agencies worldwide are now working together to stop these scams and frauds. Microsoft and Amazon are determined to fight tech support fraud and protect customers. They’ve taken down many fake websites and phone numbers used in these scams, leading to arrests and raids on scam operations.

Read Article: Cisco ASA Firewall Vulnerability Exploited to Deploy Malicious Backdoor

In Conclusion

The success of Operation Chakra-II highlights the ongoing efforts to combat cybercrime and protect consumers from tech support scams and cryptocurrency fraud on a global scale. This operation not only exposed the depth of these criminal networks but also demonstrated the commitment of international tech companies to work alongside law enforcement agencies to ensure a safer online environment for all.


1. What is “Operation Chakra-II”?
Operation Chakra-II is a big operation in India to stop online scams and frauds, like tech support scams and cryptocurrency tricks.

2. What did they find during the operation?
They found lots of evidence, including phones, laptops, and bank accounts linked to the scams.

3. How did the tech support scams work?
The crooks pretended to be from famous companies and tricked people into paying them for fake computer problems.

4. How much money was lost in the cryptocurrency fraud?
The fraud made Indian people lose at least Rs. 100 crore, which is about $12 million.

5. What’s being done worldwide to fight these crimes?
Countries are working together to stop these scams, and companies like Microsoft and Amazon are helping by taking down fake websites and phone numbers used by scammers.

CISA Warns of Active Exploits for JetBrains and Windows

The world of cybersecurity is constantly changing, and the most recent alert comes from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA have issued a warning regarding ongoing attacks targeting vulnerabilities in JetBrains Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and the Windows operating system. In this article, we will explore the details of these vulnerabilities, the possible consequences they pose, and, most importantly, strategies to safeguard your systems.

Understanding JetBrains IDE Vulnerabilities

CVE-2023-42793: Authentication Bypass Vulnerability

The first vulnerability on our radar is CVE-2023-42793, which pertains to an authentication bypass flaw. Essentially, this vulnerability could enable an attacker to sidestep authentication measures, potentially gaining unauthorized access to a JetBrains IDE.

CVE-2023-42794: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

The second vulnerability, CVE-2023-42794, is equally concerning. It relates to a remote code execution vulnerability within JetBrains IDEs. This means that an attacker could execute arbitrary code on the system where the JetBrains IDE is installed, potentially wreaking havoc.

The Windows Vulnerabilities in Question?

Turning our attention to Windows, two vulnerabilities are currently being actively exploited.

CVE-2023-28229: CNG Key Isolation Service Privilege Escalation Vulnerability
CVE-2023-28229 is a vulnerability involving the CNG Key Isolation service. If exploited, it could allow an attacker to escalate their privileges on a Windows system to the coveted SYSTEM level. This elevated access would grant them complete control over the compromised system.

CVE-2023-28230: Win32k Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability
The second Windows vulnerability, CVE-2023-28230, centers on the Win32k component. Like its counterpart, it enables privilege escalation, potentially giving attackers significant control over a compromised system.

Urgent Patching Is the Way Forward
In light of these vulnerabilities, CISA is urging all users to take immediate action by patching their systems. Fortunately, both JetBrains and Microsoft have responded promptly.

JetBrains IDE Patches
JetBrains has released patches specifically designed to address the CVE-2023-42793 and CVE-2023-42794 vulnerabilities. To safeguard your IDE, users should visit the JetBrains website and update to the latest version available.

Windows Patches
For Windows users, Microsoft has also rolled out patches to address the vulnerabilities. These patches can be installed through the Windows Update utility, ensuring your system’s security is bolstered.

A Closing Note on Security
In conclusion, the urgency of patching cannot be stressed enough. Promptly addressing these vulnerabilities is crucial to safeguard your systems from potential attacks. CISA emphasizes the active exploitation of these vulnerabilities, making it imperative that users prioritize patching.

Additional Security Recommendations

In addition to patching, here are some additional steps you can take to fortify your systems:

  • Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA on all accounts. This additional layer of security makes it significantly more challenging for attackers to gain unauthorized access, even if they have compromised your password.
  • Keep Software and Operating Systems Up to Date: Regularly update your software and operating systems.
    Update software and running device: Update your software program and working system regularly.
  • Update software and operating system: Update your software and operating system regularly.
  • Keep Software and Operating Systems Up to Date: Regularly update your software and operating systems. These updates often include critical security patches that address known vulnerabilities.
  • Exercise Caution with Links and Attachments: Be vigilant about the links you click on and the attachments you open in emails and other messages. Phishing emails remain a common method for attackers to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware.
  • Utilize Comprehensive Security Solutions: Employ a robust security solution that includes malware protection and intrusion detection and prevention (IDP) systems. These tools can help safeguard your systems from attacks that exploit vulnerabilities not yet patched.
  • In today’s digital landscape, proactive security measures are essential to protect your data and systems. By following these recommendations and promptly applying patches, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability to cyber threats.


  1. How do I check if my JetBrains IDE is vulnerable?
    A. To check if your JetBrains IDE is vulnerable, you can visit the JetBrains website and look for information on the latest security updates. Ensure you are running the most recent version of the IDE to mitigate potential risks.
  2. What is the significance of SYSTEM-level access on Windows?
    A. SYSTEM-level access on Windows grants an attacker complete control over the compromised system. It allows them to execute commands, install software, and manipulate data with unrestricted privileges.
  3. Can I rely solely on antivirus software for protection?
    A. While antivirus software is a valuable component of your cybersecurity toolkit, it should not be your only line of defense. Implementing a layered security approach, including regular updates and user awareness, is essential for comprehensive protection.
  4. How often should I update my software and operating systems?
    A. It is recommended to update your software and operating systems as soon as updates become available. Set up automatic updates where possible to ensure you stay protected against emerging threats.
  5. What should I do if I suspect a phishing attempt?
    A. If you suspect a phishing attempt, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Instead, verify the legitimacy of the email or message with the sender through a separate, trusted channel before taking any action.

For more information and resources on cybersecurity best practices, visit CISA’s official website.

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