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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Android

Android and Chrome Users Can Soon Generate Virtual Credit Cards to Protect Real Ones

Android and Chrome Users Can Soon Generate Virtual Credit Cards to Protect Real Ones

May 12, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Wednesday took to its annual developer conference to announce a host of privacy and security updates, including support for virtual credit cards on Android and Chrome. "When you use autofill to enter your payment details at checkout, virtual cards will add an additional layer of security by replacing your actual card number with a distinct, virtual number," Google's Jen Fitzpatrick  said  in a statement. The goal, the search giant, said to keep payment information safe and secure during online shopping and protect users from  skimming attacks  wherein threat actors inject malicious JavaScript code to plunder credit card numbers and sell them on the black market. The feature is expected to roll out in the U.S. for Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Capital One cards starting this summer. Interestingly, while Apple offers an option to mask email addresses via  Hide My Email , which enables users to create unique, random email addresses to use with apps
Another Set of Joker Trojan-Laced Android Apps Resurfaces on Google Play Store

Another Set of Joker Trojan-Laced Android Apps Resurfaces on Google Play Store

May 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new set of trojanized apps spread via the Google Play Store has been observed distributing the notorious Joker malware on compromised Android devices. Joker, a  repeat   offender , refers to a class of harmful apps that are used for billing and SMS fraud, while also performing a number of actions of a malicious hacker's choice, such as stealing text messages, contact lists, and device information. Despite continued attempts on the part of Google to scale up its defenses, the apps have been continually iterated to search for gaps and slip into the app store undetected. "They're usually spread on Google Play, where scammers download legitimate apps from the store, add malicious code to them and re-upload them to the store under a different name," Kaspersky researcher Igor Golovin  said  in a report published last week. The trojanized apps, taking the place of their removed counterparts, often appear as messaging, health tracking, and PDF scanner apps that, once
Google Releases Android Update to Patch Actively Exploited Vulnerability

Google Releases Android Update to Patch Actively Exploited Vulnerability

May 05, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has released monthly security patches for Android with fixes for 37 flaws across different components, one of which is a fix for an actively exploited Linux kernel vulnerability that came to light earlier this year. Tracked as  CVE-2021-22600  (CVSS score: 7.8), the vulnerability is ranked "High" for severity and could be exploited by a local user to escalate privileges or deny service. The issue relates to a  double-free vulnerability  residing in the  Packet  network protocol implementation in the Linux kernel that could cause memory corruption, potentially leading to denial-of-service or execution of arbitrary code. Patches were released by different Linux distributions, including  Debian ,  Red Hat ,  SUSE , and  Ubuntu  in December 2021 and January 2022. "There are indications that CVE-2021-22600 may be under limited, targeted exploitation," Google  noted  in its Android Security Bulletin for May 2022. Specifics about the nature of the attacks are
Google to Add Passwordless Authentication Support to Android and Chrome

Google to Add Passwordless Authentication Support to Android and Chrome

May 05, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google today announced  plans  to implement support for passwordless logins in Android and the Chrome web browser to allow users to seamlessly and securely sign in across different devices and websites irrespective of the platform. "This will simplify sign-ins across devices, websites, and applications no matter the platform — without the need for a single password," Google  said . Apple and Microsoft are also expected to extend the support to iOS, macOS, and Windows operating systems as well as Safari and Edge browsers. The common Fast IDentity Online ( FIDO ) sign-in system does away with passwords entirely in favor of displaying a prompt asking a user to unlock the phone when signing into a website or an application. This is made possible by storing a cryptographically-secured FIDO credential called a passkey on the phone that's used to log in to the online account after unlocking the device. "Once you've done this, you won't need your phone again a
Google Releases First Developer Preview of Privacy Sandbox on Android 13

Google Releases First Developer Preview of Privacy Sandbox on Android 13

May 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has officially  released  the first developer preview for the Privacy Sandbox on Android 13, offering an "early look" at the SDK Runtime and Topics API to boost users' privacy online. "The Privacy Sandbox on Android Developer Preview program will run over the course of 2022, with a beta release planned by the end of the year," the search giant  said  in an overview. A "multi-year effort,"  Privacy Sandbox  on Android aims to create technologies that's both privacy-preserving as well as keep online content and services free without having to resort to opaque methods of digital advertising. The idea is to limit sharing of user data with third-parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID, a unique, user-resettable string of letters and digits that can be used to track users as they move between apps. Google originally  announced  its plans to bring Privacy Sandbox to Android earlier this February, following
Google's New Safety Section Shows What Data Android Apps Collect About Users

Google's New Safety Section Shows What Data Android Apps Collect About Users

April 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday officially began rolling out a new "Data safety" section for Android apps on the Play Store to highlight the type of data being collected and shared with third-parties. "Users want to know for what purpose their data is being collected and whether the developer is sharing user data with third parties," Suzanne Frey, Vice President of product for Android security and privacy,  said . "In addition, users want to understand how app developers are securing user data after an app is downloaded." The transparency measure, which is built along the lines of Apple's " Privacy Nutrition Labels ," was  first announced  by Google nearly a year ago in May 2021. The Data safety section, which will show up against every app listing on the digital storefront, presents a unified view of what data is being collected, for what purpose it's being used, and how it's handled, while also highlighting what data is being shared with thi
Critical Chipset Bugs Open Millions of Android Devices to Remote Spying

Critical Chipset Bugs Open Millions of Android Devices to Remote Spying

April 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Three security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in the audio decoders of Qualcomm and MediaTek chips that, if left unresolved, could allow an adversary to remotely gain access to media and audio conversations from affected mobile devices. According to Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point , the issues could be used as a launchpad to carry out remote code execution (RCE) attacks simply by sending a specially crafted audio file. "The impact of an RCE vulnerability can range from malware execution to an attacker gaining control over a user's multimedia data, including streaming from a compromised machine's camera," the researchers said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "In addition, an unprivileged Android app could use these vulnerabilities to escalate its privileges and gain access to media data and user conversations." The vulnerabilities, dubbed ALHACK, are rooted in an audio coding format originally developed and open-sourced by Apple i
New Octo Banking Trojan Spreading via Fake Apps on Google Play Store

New Octo Banking Trojan Spreading via Fake Apps on Google Play Store

April 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A number of rogue Android apps that have been cumulatively installed from the official Google Play Store more than 50,000 times are being used to target banks and other financial entities. The rental banking trojan, dubbed  Octo , is said to be a rebrand of another Android malware called ExobotCompact, which, in turn, is a "lite" replacement for its Exobot predecessor, Dutch mobile security firm ThreatFabric  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Exobot is also likely said to have paved the way for a separate descendant called Coper, that was initially  discovered  targeting Colombian users around July 2021, with newer infections targeting Android users in different European Countries. "Coper malware apps are modular in design and include a multi-stage infection method and many defensive tactics to survive removal attempts," Cybersecurity company Cyble  noted  in an analysis of the malware last month. Like other Android banking trojans, the rogue apps
Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures

Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures

April 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor with affiliations to the cyber warfare division of Hamas has been linked to an "elaborate campaign" targeting high-profile Israeli individuals employed in sensitive defense, law enforcement, and emergency services organizations. "The campaign operators use sophisticated social engineering techniques, ultimately aimed to deliver previously undocumented backdoors for Windows and Android devices," cybersecurity company Cybereason  said  in a Wednesday report. "The goal behind the attack was to extract sensitive information from the victims' devices for espionage purposes." The monthslong intrusions, codenamed " Operation Bearded Barbie ," have been attributed to an Arabic-speaking and politically-motivated group called Arid Viper, which operates out of the Middle East and is also known by the monikers APT-C-23 and Desert Falcon. Most recently, the threat actor was  held responsible  for attacks aimed at Palestinian activists
SharkBot Banking Trojan Resurfaces On Google Play Store Hidden Behind 7 New Apps

SharkBot Banking Trojan Resurfaces On Google Play Store Hidden Behind 7 New Apps

April 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as seven malicious Android apps discovered on the Google Play Store masqueraded as antivirus solutions to deploy a banking trojan called SharkBot . "SharkBot steals credentials and banking information," Check Point researchers Alex Shamshur and Raman Ladutska  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "This malware implements a geofencing feature and evasion techniques, which makes it stand out from the rest of malwares." Particularly, the malware is designed to ignore users from China, India, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The rogue apps are said to have been installed more than 15,000 times prior to their removal, with most of the victims located in Italy and the U.K. The report complements  previous findings  from NCC Group, which found the bankbot posing as antivirus apps to carry out unauthorized transactions via Automatic Transfer Systems (ATS). SharkBot takes advantage of Android's Accessibility Services permissions to present
Hackers Distributing Fake Shopping Apps to Steal Banking Data of Malaysian Users

Hackers Distributing Fake Shopping Apps to Steal Banking Data of Malaysian Users

April 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors have been distributing malicious applications under the guise of seemingly harmless shopping apps to target customers of eight Malaysian banks since at least November 2021. The attacks involved setting up fraudulent but legitimate-looking websites to trick users into downloading the apps, Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET said in a report shared with The Hacker News. The copycat websites impersonated cleaning services such as Maid4u, Grabmaid, Maria's Cleaning, Maid4u, YourMaid, Maideasy and MaidACall and a pet store named PetsMore, all of which are aimed at users in Malaysia. "The threat actors use these fake e-shop applications to phish for banking credentials," ESET  said . "The apps also forward all SMS messages received by the victim to the malware operators in case they contain 2FA codes sent by the bank." The targeted banks include Maybank, Affin Bank, Public Bank Berhad, CIMB bank, BSN, RHB, Bank Islam Malaysia, and Hong Leong Bank. Th
Researchers Uncover New Android Spyware With C2 Server Linked to Turla Hackers

Researchers Uncover New Android Spyware With C2 Server Linked to Turla Hackers

April 04, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An Android spyware application has been spotted masquerading as a "Process Manager" service to stealthily siphon sensitive information stored in the infected devices. Interestingly, the app — that has the package name " com.remote.app " — establishes contact with a remote command-and-control server, 82.146.35[.]240, which has been previously identified as infrastructure belonging to the Russia-based hacking group known as  Turla . "When the application is run, a warning appears about the permissions granted to the application," Lab52 researchers  said . "These include screen unlock attempts, lock the screen, set the device global proxy, set screen lock password expiration, set storage encryption and disable cameras." Once the app is "activated," the malware removes its gear-shaped icon from the home screen and runs in the background, abusing its wide permissions to access the device's contacts and call logs, track its location,
Experts Uncover Campaign Stealing Cryptocurrency from Android and iPhone Users

Experts Uncover Campaign Stealing Cryptocurrency from Android and iPhone Users

March 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have blown the lid off a sophisticated malicious scheme primarily targeting Chinese users via copycat apps on Android and iOS that mimic legitimate digital wallet services to siphon cryptocurrency funds. "These malicious apps were able to steal victims' secret seed phrases by impersonating Coinbase, imToken, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Bitpie, TokenPocket, or OneKey,"  said  Lukáš Štefanko, senior malware researcher at ESET in a report shared with The Hacker News. The wallet services are said to have been distributed through a network of over 40 counterfeit wallet websites that are promoted with the help of misleading articles posted on legitimate Chinese websites, as well as by means of recruiting intermediaries through Telegram and Facebook groups, in an attempt to trick unsuspecting visitors into downloading the malicious apps. ESET, which has been tracking the campaign since May 2021, attributed it to the work of a single criminal group. The trojanized cr
'CryptoRom' Crypto Scam Abusing iPhone Features to Target Mobile Users

'CryptoRom' Crypto Scam Abusing iPhone Features to Target Mobile Users

March 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Social engineering attacks leveraging a combination of romantic lures and cryptocurrency fraud have been deceiving unsuspecting victims into installing fake apps by taking advantage of legitimate iOS features like TestFlight and Web Clips. Cybersecurity company Sophos, which has named the organized crime campaign " CryptoRom ," characterized it as a wide-ranging global scam. "This style of cyber-fraud, known as sha zhu pan (杀猪盘) — literally 'pig butchering plate' — is a well-organized, syndicated scam operation that uses a combination of often romance-centered social engineering and fraudulent financial applications and websites to ensnare victims and steal their savings after gaining their confidence," Sophos analyst Jagadeesh Chandraiah  said  in a report published last week. The campaign works by approaching potential targets through dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, Facebook Dating, and Grindr, before moving the conversation to messaging apps such as
Critical Security Patches Issued by Microsoft, Adobe and Other Major Software Firms

Critical Security Patches Issued by Microsoft, Adobe and Other Major Software Firms

March 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft's  Patch Tuesday update  for the month of March has been made officially available with 71 fixes spanning across its software products such as Windows, Office, Exchange, and Defender, among others. Of the total 71 patches, three are rated Critical and 68 are rated Important in severity. While none of the vulnerabilities are listed as actively exploited, three of them are publicly known at the time of release. It's worth pointing out that Microsoft separately  addressed 21 flaws  in the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser earlier this month. All the three critical vulnerabilities remediated this month are remote code execution flaws impacting HEVC Video Extensions ( CVE-2022-22006 ), Microsoft Exchange Server ( CVE-2022-23277 ), and VP9 Video Extensions ( CVE-2022-24501 ). The Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerability, which was reported by researcher Markus Wulftange, is also noteworthy for the fact that it requires the attacker to be authenticated to be able to
SharkBot Banking Malware Spreading via Fake Android Antivirus App on Google Play Store

SharkBot Banking Malware Spreading via Fake Android Antivirus App on Google Play Store

March 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The threat actor behind a nascent Android banking trojan named  SharkBot  has managed to evade Google Play Store security barriers by masquerading as an antivirus app. SharkBot, like its malware counterparts  TeaBot ,  FluBot , and  Oscorp  (UBEL), belongs to a category of financial trojans capable of siphoning credentials to initiate money transfers from compromised devices by circumventing multi-factor authentication mechanisms. It first emerged on the scene in November 2021. Where SharkBot stands apart is in its ability to carry out the unauthorized transactions via Automatic Transfer Systems (ATS), which stands in contrast to TeaBot, which requires a live operator to interact with the infected devices to conduct the malicious activities. "The ATS features allow the malware to receive a list of events to be simulated, and they will be simulated in order to do the money transfers," Alberto Segura and Rolf Govers, malware analysts at cybersecurity firm NCC Group,  said
New Android Banking Trojan Spreading via Google Play Store Targets Europeans

New Android Banking Trojan Spreading via Google Play Store Targets Europeans

February 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new Android banking trojan with over 50,000 installations has been observed distributed via the official Google Play Store with the goal of targeting 56 European banks and carrying out harvesting sensitive information from compromised devices. Dubbed  Xenomorph  by Dutch security firm ThreatFabric, the in-development malware is said to share overlaps with another banking trojan tracked under the moniker Alien while also being "radically different" from its predecessor in terms of the functionalities offered. "Despite being a work-in-progress, Xenomorph is already sporting effective overlays and being actively distributed on official app stores," ThreatFabric's founder and CEO, Han Sahin, said. "In addition, it features a very detailed and modular engine to abuse accessibility services, which in the future could power very advanced capabilities, like ATS." Alien, a remote access trojan (RAT) with notification sniffing and authenticator-based 2FA
Hackers Exploiting Infected Android Devices to Register Disposable Accounts

Hackers Exploiting Infected Android Devices to Register Disposable Accounts

February 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An analysis of SMS phone-verified account (PVA) services has led to the discovery of a rogue platform built atop a botnet involving thousands of infected Android phones, once again underscoring the flaws with relying on SMS for account validation. SMS PVA services, since gaining prevalence in 2018, provide users with alternative mobile numbers that can be used to register for other online services and platforms, and help bypass SMS-based authentication and single sign-on (SSO) mechanisms put in place to verify new accounts. "This type of service can be used by malicious actors to register disposable accounts in bulk or create phone-verified accounts for conducting fraud and other criminal activities," Trend Micro researchers  said  in a report published last week. Telemetry data gathered by the company shows that most of the infections are located in Indonesia (47,357), followed by Russia (16,157), Thailand (11,196), India (8,109), and France (5,548), Peru (4,915), Moroc
Google Bringing Privacy Sandbox to Android to Limit Sharing of User Data

Google Bringing Privacy Sandbox to Android to Limit Sharing of User Data

February 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Wednesday announced plans to bring its Privacy Sandbox initiatives to Android in a bid to expand its privacy-focused, but also less disruptive, advertising technology beyond the desktop web. To that end, the internet giant said it will work towards building solutions that prevent cross-app tracking à la Apple's App Tracking Transparency ( ATT ) framework, effectively limiting sharing of user data with third-parties as well as eliminating identifiers such as advertising IDs on mobile devices. "The Privacy Sandbox on Android builds on our existing efforts on the web, providing a clear path forward to improve user privacy without putting access to free content and services at risk," Anthony Chavez, vice president of product management for Android security and privacy,  said . Privacy Sandbox , launched in 2019, is Google's umbrella term for a set of technologies that will phase out third-party cookies and curb covert tracking, like  fingerprinting , by redu
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