This Fake 'The Interview' App Will Steal Your Credit Card Details (And No, It Won't Show You The Movie)
For a stoner comedy, The Interview sure has stirred up a lot of controversy. A major computer hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Terrorist threats. A scolding from the president. And now theft? South Koreans have been targeted with a fake The Interview Android app that steals bank account information instead of allowing users to watch the movie.
The film, a satire centering on the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has understandably sparked an interest in South Korea viewers. A Trojan app has taken advantage of their piqued curiosity, posing as an easy way to watch the film. Identified by McAfee researchers as Android/Badaccents, the Trojan manages to siphon back account information from devices. It is primarily targeted at South Korean banks, but also includes Citi Bank. The app has infected 20,000 phones, with the information relayed back to a Chinese bank account.
In what might be some weird altruism from people who designed an app to steal money, the app is set to sense phones manufactured in North Korea. If the app identifies a device as being manufactured in the country, it will only display a message that it failed to connect to the server. I guess they figured that they have it bad enough?
Despite 9/11-style threats, the film was released in select theaters in the U.S. and Canada on Christmas. But all of the controversy seems to have been the world's best PR move for Sony. The film has been downloaded over 2 million times, grossing over $15 million from downloads alone — Sony's most downloaded film. It has also collected $3 million in the box office.
So has anyone in North Korea actually seen the movie? Well, there could be a little help coming in via...balloon. A South Korean activist has vowed to launch thousands of copies into North Korea to combat the propaganda surrounding the film.
All of this for something that isn't really making a statement at all. The furor over the movie says more about the sensitivity of the man it is depicting than anything. If anyone can take statements made by Seth Rogen and James Franco as legitimate geopolitical thought, then they need to have a reality check. But I guess we always knew that Kim Jong-un needed one of those, didn't we?
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