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27 July 2011
27 July 2011
Infection Length:
30,554 bytes
Systems Affected:
Android.Nickispy is a Trojan horse that steals information from Android devices.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 27 July 2011 revision 005
  • Latest Rapid Release version 19 February 2013 revision 016
  • Initial Daily Certified version 27 July 2011 revision 019
  • Latest Daily Certified version 24 April 2012 revision 002
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 27 July 2011
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.
When the program is installed, it requests permissions to allow it to perform the following actions:
  • Access Cell-ID and WiFi location
  • Access Cell-ID and WiFi updates
  • Access GPS location
  • Access information about WiFi networks
  • Allow low-level access to power management
  • Allow read only access to phone state
  • Allow the use of PowerManager WakeLocks to keep the processor from sleeping or the screen from dimming
  • Initiate a phone call without going through the Dialer user interface so that the user is unaware of any outgoing calls made by the Trojan
  • Monitor, modify, or abort outgoing calls
  • Open network sockets
  • Read SMS messages
  • Read the user's contacts data
  • Record audio
  • Send SMS messages
  • Write (but not read) the user's contacts data
  • Write SMS messages
  • Write to external storage

When the Trojan is executed, it registers itself to start whenever the device starts by listening for the following command:

It may then start any of the following services:
  • GpsService
  • MainService
  • RecordService
  • SocketService
  • XM_SmsListener
  • XM_CallListener
  • XM_CallRecordService

The program sends an SMS containing the IMEI of the device to the following phone number:

It then records the following information:
  • All phone call content
  • GPS infomation
  • Received SMS messages
  • Sent SMS messages

The above information is written to the SD card in the following location:

The gathered information is then sent to the following location on port 2018:


Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet to services that should not be publicly available. By default, you should deny all incoming connections and only allow services you explicitly want to offer to the outside world.
  • Enforce a password policy. Complex passwords make it difficult to crack password files on compromised computers. This helps to prevent or limit damage when a computer is compromised.
  • Ensure that programs and users of the computer use the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task. When prompted for a root or UAC password, ensure that the program asking for administration-level access is a legitimate application.
  • Disable AutoPlay to prevent the automatic launching of executable files on network and removable drives, and disconnect the drives when not required. If write access is not required, enable read-only mode if the option is available.
  • Turn off file sharing if not needed. If file sharing is required, use ACLs and password protection to limit access. Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Turn off and remove unnecessary services. By default, many operating systems install auxiliary services that are not critical. These services are avenues of attack. If they are removed, threats have less avenues of attack.
  • If a threat exploits one or more network services, disable, or block access to, those services until a patch is applied.
  • Always keep your patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.
  • Configure your email server to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread threats, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif and .scr files.
  • Isolate compromised computers quickly to prevent threats from spreading further. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.
  • Train employees not to open attachments unless they are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth is not required for mobile devices, it should be turned off. If you require its use, ensure that the device's visibility is set to "Hidden" so that it cannot be scanned by other Bluetooth devices. If device pairing must be used, ensure that all devices are set to "Unauthorized", requiring authorization for each connection request. Do not accept applications that are unsigned or sent from unknown sources.
  • For further information on the terms used in this document, please refer to the Security Response glossary.
You may have arrived at this page either because you have been alerted by your Symantec product about this risk, or you are concerned that your device has been affected by this risk.

Install Norton Mobile Security
If you do not already have Norton Mobile Security installed on your device, please download the product from the Android marketplace .

Alternatively, you can navigate to the website from your device and download the product from there by completing the following steps:
  1. Select the 90-Day free download.
  2. Click on the Android icon to begin downloading the product.
  3. Click on Install in order to accept the permissions that are being requested by the program.
  4. Next, click Open and then Agree & Launch.

Note: The first time the product runs, you will be required to enter a code that is displayed on the screen in order to activate the product. Enter the provided code and press Submit .

Run a full system scan
Run a full system scan using Norton Mobile Security to remove this risk from the device. To do this, please perform the following actions:
  1. Navigate to the Anti-Malware tab.
  2. Click Scan Now.

Manual removal
To remove this risk manually, please perform the following actions:
  1. Open the Google Android Menu.
  2. Go to the Settings icon and select Applications.
  3. Next, click Manage.
  4. Select the application and click the Uninstall button.
Writeup By: Sam Tian and Sijing He