Jay-Z Android App Attracts Hacktivists, Peeves Pro-Privacy Posse

Jay-z-lead © Shutterstock-Featureflash

If you’re having app problems, I feel bad for you son, I’ve got 99 problems but this app… oh

Jay-Z’s Android app for Samsung is causing a stir for the wrong reasons this week, as anti-US government hackers have created a rogue clone of the software, whilst others are dissing its impact on privacy.

Many users have also vented frustration at the app not working, as they were hoping to get their hands on a free copy of the latest Jay-Z record, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, before it is released to the general public. The first million downloads came with a copy, whilst the app itself promises footage of the rapper and supplementary material for the album.

Jay-Z app has hard knock life

Intel-owned security company McAfee, meanwhile, discovered an app that did many of the same things as the Jay-Z app, but its aim was rather different – to express anti-Obama sentiment.

It appears the app is political in its agenda, as on 4 July, American Independence Day, a time-based trigger is set to replace the wallpaper on the infected device with an altered image of President Obama. It then includes satiric nods to reports of mass NSA surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Jay-Z app

“On the surface, the malware app functions identically to the legit app. But in the in the background, the malware sends info about the infected device to an external server every time the phone restarts. The malware then attempts to download and install additional packages,” McAfee wrote in a blog post.

“The image and the service name NSAListener suggest a hacktivist agenda, but we haven’t ruled out the possibility that additional malware may target financial transactions or other data.

“Mobile malware seems to have no bounds when it comes to tactics or growth rates. To paraphrase lyrics from Jay Z, it seems Android malware has 99 problems and Android.AntiObscan just became another.”

As for the privacy issues, rapper Killer Mike called out the permissions the app was requiring, including the ability to modifyor delete contents of USB storage and to get the user’s precise GPS location. Posting a picture of the permissions on Twitter, he wrote: “I read this and……..’Naw I’m cool’.”

Needless to say, Jay-Z’s $5 million (£3.3 million) deal with Samsung hasn’t had the most auspicious of starts, at least from the app perspective.

A Samsung spokesperson told TechWeekEurope: “While you do have to authorise similar permissions as in most apps, Samsung will not be collecting any of the data from users’ phones for marketing purposes.”

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