A Magna Carta Holy Grail malware app has been identified by McAfee Mobile Security. The real deal app and one million free downloads of the new Jay-Z album are currently only released for certain Samsung Galaxy devices.
According to a McAfee statement, the Magna Carta Holy Grail malware appears to function like the real thing. However, in the background, the malware makes contact with an external service each time the phone restarts, so that it can download and install more packages.
A timer is included in the malware to trigger on the 4th of July, when the app will attempt to replace the infected phone’s wallpaper with an anti-Obama political message from something called “NSAListenerService.” Although the message appeared to be a protest against recent allegations of privacy invasion revealed by fugitive and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, McAfee said they couldn’t rule out that the malware would eventually also steal financial or other data from infected devices.
While on the subject of government or private snooping, some observers such as this Tech Crunch writer have questioned the permissions that the legitimate Magna Carta Holy Grail was requesting.
Frequent tweeter Killer Mike posted this message, which includes the long list of permissions needed to download the app. However, other people said that the permissions were pretty standard and were indeed necessary to allow Google Play and Samsung to provide updates.
And, as many disappointed users found out early this morning, the download didn’t work smoothly for everyone. Many people got an error message or had other problems when they attempted to download the new album. Some people were asking if the site had crashed. At the time of writing, it seems to be working OK again.
But maybe stay away from pirated apps that might be infected with the Magna Carta Holy Grail malware.