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Cybercriminals Developing BugDrop Malware to Bypass Android Security Features

Cybercriminals Developing BugDrop Malware to Bypass Android Security Features

August 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
In a sign that malicious actors continue to find ways to work around Google Play Store security protections, researchers have spotted a previously undocumented Android dropper trojan that's currently in development. "This new malware tries to abuse devices using a novel technique, not seen before in Android malware, to spread the extremely dangerous  Xenomorph  banking trojan, allowing criminals to perform On-Device Fraud on victim's devices," ThreatFabric's Han Sahin said in a statement shared with The Hacker News. Dubbed  BugDrop  by the Dutch security firm, the  dropper app  is explicitly designed to defeat new features introduced in the upcoming version of Android that aim to make it difficult for malware to request Accessibility Services privileges from victims. ThreatFabric attributed the dropper to a cybercriminal group known as "Hadoken Security," which is also behind the creation and distribution of the  Xenomorph and Gymdrop  Android malwa
SOVA Android Banking Trojan Returns With New Capabilities and Targets

SOVA Android Banking Trojan Returns With New Capabilities and Targets

August 15, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The SOVA Android banking trojan is continuing to be actively developed with upgraded capabilities to target no less than 200 mobile applications, including banking apps and crypto exchanges and wallets, up from 90 apps when it started out. That's according to the latest findings from Italian cybersecurity firm Cleafy, which found newer versions of the malware sporting functionality to intercept two-factor authentication (2FA) codes, steal cookies, and expand its targeting to cover Australia, Brazil, China, India, the Philippines, and the U.K. SOVA, meaning Owl in Russian, came to light in  September 2021  when it was observed striking financial and shopping apps from the U.S. and Spain for harvesting credentials through overlay attacks by taking advantage of Android's Accessibility services. In less than a year, the trojan has also acted as a foundation for another Android malware called  MaliBot  that's designed to target online banking and cryptocurrency wallet custo
Meta Cracks Down on Cyber Espionage Operations in South Asia Abusing Facebook

Meta Cracks Down on Cyber Espionage Operations in South Asia Abusing Facebook

August 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook parent company Meta disclosed that it took action against two espionage operations in South Asia that leveraged its social media platforms to distribute malware to potential targets. The first set of activities is what the company described as "persistent and well-resourced" and undertaken by a hacking group tracked under the moniker Bitter APT (aka APT-C-08 or T-APT-17) targeting individuals in New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and the U.K. "Bitter used various malicious tactics to target people online with social engineering and infect their devices with malware," Meta  said  in its Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report. "They used a mix of link-shortening services, malicious domains, compromised websites, and third-party hosting providers to distribute their malware." The attacks involved the threat actor creating fictitious personas on the platform, masquerading as attractive young women in a bid to build trust with targets and lure them into cl
These 28+ Android Apps with 10 Million Downloads from the Play Store Contain Malware

These 28+ Android Apps with 10 Million Downloads from the Play Store Contain Malware

July 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as 30 malicious Android apps with cumulative downloads of nearly 10 million have been found on the Google Play Store distributing adware. "All of them were built into various programs, including image-editing software, virtual keyboards, system tools and utilities, calling apps, wallpaper collection apps, and others," Dr.Web  said  in a Tuesday write-up. While masquerading as innocuous apps, their primary goal is to request permissions to show windows over other apps and run in the background in order to serve intrusive ads. To make it difficult for the victims to detect and uninstall the apps, the adware trojans hide their icons from the list of installed apps in the home screen or replace the icons with others that are likely to be less noticed (e.g., SIM Toolkit). Some of these apps also offer the advertised features, as observed in the case of two apps: "Water Reminder- Tracker & Reminder" and "Yoga- For Beginner to Advanced." However
Roaming Mantis Financial Hackers Targeting Android and iPhone Users in France

Roaming Mantis Financial Hackers Targeting Android and iPhone Users in France

July 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The mobile threat campaign tracked as  Roaming Mantis  has been linked to a new wave of compromises directed against French mobile phone users, months after it expanded its targeting to include European countries. No fewer than 70,000 Android devices are said to have been infected as part of the active malware operation, Sekoia said in a report published last week. Attack chains involving  Roaming Mantis , a financially motivated Chinese threat actor, are known to either deploy a piece of banking trojan named MoqHao (aka XLoader) or redirect iPhone users to credential harvesting landing pages that mimic the iCloud login page. "MoqHao (aka Wroba, XLoader for Android) is an Android remote access trojan (RAT) with information-stealing and backdoor capabilities that likely spreads via SMS," Sekoia researchers  said . It all starts with a phishing SMS, a technique known as smishing, enticing users with package delivery-themed messages containing rogue links, that, when clic
Google Adds Support for DNS-over-HTTP/3 in Android to Keep DNS Queries Private

Google Adds Support for DNS-over-HTTP/3 in Android to Keep DNS Queries Private

July 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday officially announced support for DNS-over-HTTP/3 (DoH3) for Android devices as part of a Google Play system update designed to keep DNS queries private. To that end, Android smartphones running Android 11 and higher are expected to use DoH3 instead of DNS-over-TLS ( DoT ), which was incorporated into the mobile operating system with Android 9.0. DoH3 is also an alternative to DNS-over-HTTPS ( DoH ), a mechanism for carrying out remote Domain Name System (DNS) resolution through an encrypted connection, effectively preventing third parties from snooping on users' browsing activities. HTTP/3 , the first major upgrade to the hypertext transfer protocol since HTTP/2 was introduced in May 2015, is designed to use a new transport layer protocol called  QUIC  that's already supported by major browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. The low-latency protocol, developed by Google in 2012, relies on the User Datagram Prot
Russian Hackers Tricked Ukrainians with Fake "DoS Android Apps to Target Russia"

Russian Hackers Tricked Ukrainians with Fake "DoS Android Apps to Target Russia"

July 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Russian threat actors capitalized on the  ongoing conflict  against Ukraine to distribute Android malware camouflaged as an app for pro-Ukrainian hacktivists to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Russian sites. Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) attributed the malware to Turla, an advanced persistent threat also known as Krypton, Venomous Bear, Waterbug, and Uroburos, and linked to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). "This is the first known instance of Turla distributing Android-related malware," TAG researcher Billy Leonard  said . "The apps were not distributed through the Google Play Store, but hosted on a domain controlled by the actor and disseminated via links on third party messaging services." It's worth noting that the  onslaught  of  cyberattacks  in the immediate aftermath of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine prompted the latter to  form an IT Army  to stage counter-DDoS attacks against Russian website
Several New Play Store Apps Spotted Distributing Joker, Facestealer and Coper Malware

Several New Play Store Apps Spotted Distributing Joker, Facestealer and Coper Malware

July 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has taken steps to ax dozens of fraudulent apps from the official Play Store that were spotted propagating Joker, Facestealer, and Coper malware families through the virtual marketplace. While the Android storefront is considered to be a trusted source for discovering and installing apps, bad actors have repeatedly found ways to sneak past security barriers erected by Google in hopes of luring unsuspecting users into downloading malware-laced apps. The latest findings from  Zscaler ThreatLabz  and  Pradeo  are no different. "Joker is one of the most  prominent malware families  targeting Android devices," researchers Viral Gandhi and Himanshu Sharma said in a Monday report. "Despite public awareness of this particular malware, it keeps finding its way into Google's official app store by regularly modifying the malware's trace signatures including updates to the code, execution methods, and payload-retrieving techniques." Categorized as  fleecewa
New Android Banking Trojan 'Revive' Targeting Users of Spanish Financial Services

New Android Banking Trojan 'Revive' Targeting Users of Spanish Financial Services

June 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously unknown Android banking trojan has been discovered in the wild, targeting users of the Spanish financial services company BBVA. Said to be in its early stages of development, the malware — dubbed  Revive  by Italian cybersecurity firm Cleafy — was first observed on June 15, 2022 and distributed by means of phishing campaigns. "The name Revive has been chosen since one of the functionality of the malware (called by the [threat actors] precisely 'revive') is restarting in case the malware stops working," Cleafy researchers Federico Valentini and Francesco Iubatti  said  in a Monday write-up. Available for download from rogue phishing pages ("bbva.appsecureguide[.]com" or "bbva.european2fa[.]com") as a lure to trick users into downloading the app, the malware impersonates the bank's two-factor authentication (2FA) app and is said to be inspired from open-source spyware called  Teardroid , with the authors tweaking the original so
Google Says ISPs Helped Attackers Infect Targeted Smartphones with Hermit Spyware

Google Says ISPs Helped Attackers Infect Targeted Smartphones with Hermit Spyware

June 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A week after it emerged that a sophisticated mobile spyware dubbed Hermit was used by the government of Kazakhstan within its borders, Google said it has notified Android users of infected devices. Additionally, necessary changes have been implemented in  Google Play Protect  — Android's built-in malware defense service — to protect all users, Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne of Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG)  said  in a Thursday report. Hermit, the work of an Italian vendor named RCS Lab, was  documented  by Lookout last week, calling out its modular feature-set and its abilities to harvest sensitive information such as call logs, contacts, photos, precise location, and SMS messages. Once the threat has thoroughly insinuated itself into a device, it's also equipped to record audio and make and redirect phone calls, besides abusing its permissions to accessibility services on Android to keep tabs on various foreground apps used by the victims. Its modularity also enab
BRATA Android Malware Gains Advanced Mobile Threat Capabilities

BRATA Android Malware Gains Advanced Mobile Threat Capabilities

June 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The operators behind  BRATA  have once again added more capabilities to the Android mobile malware in an attempt to make their attacks against financial apps more stealthy. "In fact, the modus operandi now fits into an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) activity pattern," Italian cybersecurity firm Cleafy  said  in a report last week. "This term is used to describe an attack campaign in which criminals establish a long-term presence on a targeted network to steal sensitive information." An acronym for "Brazilian Remote Access Tool Android," BRATA was first  detected  in the wild in Brazil in late 2018, before making its first appearance in Europe last April, while masquerading as antivirus software and other common productivity tools to trick users into downloading them. The change in the attack pattern, which scaled new highs in early April 2022, involves tailoring the malware to strike a specific financial institution at a time, switching to a differe
Researchers Uncover 'Hermit' Android Spyware Used in Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy

Researchers Uncover 'Hermit' Android Spyware Used in Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy

June 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An enterprise-grade surveillanceware dubbed Hermit has been put to use by entities operating from within Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy over the years since 2019, new research has revealed. Lookout attributed the spy software, which is equipped to target both Android and iOS, to an Italian company named RCS Lab S.p.A and Tykelab Srl, a telecom services provider which it suspects to be a front company. The San Francisco-based cybersecurity firm said it detected the campaign aimed at Kazakhstan in April 2022. Hermit is modular and comes with myriad capabilities that allow it to "exploit a rooted device, record audio and make and redirect phone calls, as well as collect data such as call logs, contacts, photos, device location and SMS messages," Lookout researchers Justin Albrecht and Paul Shunk  said  in a new write-up. The spyware is believed to be distributed via SMS messages that trick users into installing what are seemingly innocuous apps from Samsung, Vivo, and Oppo, w
MaliBot: A New Android Banking Trojan Spotted in the Wild

MaliBot: A New Android Banking Trojan Spotted in the Wild

June 15, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new strain of Android malware has been spotted in the wild targeting online banking and cryptocurrency wallet customers in Spain and Italy, just weeks after a coordinated law enforcement operation dismantled  FluBot . The information stealing trojan, codenamed  MaliBot  by F5 Labs, is as feature-rich as its  counterparts , allowing it to steal credentials and cookies, bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA) codes, and abuse Android's Accessibility Service to monitor the victim's device screen. MaliBot is known to primarily disguise itself as cryptocurrency mining apps such as Mining X or The CryptoApp that are distributed via fraudulent websites designed to attract potential visitors into downloading them. It also takes another leaf out of the mobile banking trojan playbook in that it employs smishing as a distribution vector to proliferate the malware by accessing an infected smartphone's contacts and sending SMS messages containing links to the malware. "Mal
Chinese Hackers Distribute Backdoored Web3 Wallets for iOS and Android Users

Chinese Hackers Distribute Backdoored Web3 Wallets for iOS and Android Users

June 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A technically sophisticated threat actor known as  SeaFlower  has been targeting Android and iOS users as part of an extensive campaign that mimics official cryptocurrency wallet websites intending to distribute backdoored apps that drain victims' funds. Said to be first discovered in March 2022, the cluster of activity "hint[s] to a strong relationship with a Chinese-speaking entity yet to be uncovered," based on the macOS usernames, source code comments in the backdoor code, and its abuse of Alibaba's Content Delivery Network (CDN). "As of today, the main current objective of SeaFlower is to modify Web3 wallets with backdoor code that ultimately exfiltrates the seed phrase," Confiant's Taha Karim  said  in a technical deep-dive of the campaign. Targeted apps include Android and iOS versions of Coinbase Wallet, MetaMask, TokenPocket, and imToken. SeaFlower's modus operandi involves setting up cloned websites that act as a conduit to download
Latest Mobile Malware Report Suggests On-Device Fraud is on the Rise

Latest Mobile Malware Report Suggests On-Device Fraud is on the Rise

May 31, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An analysis of the mobile threat landscape in 2022 shows that Spain and Turkey are the most targeted countries for malware campaigns, even as a mix of new and existing banking trojans are increasingly targeting Android devices to conduct on-device fraud (ODF). Other frequently targeted countries include Poland, Australia, the U.S., Germany, the U.K., Italy, France, and Portugal. "The most worrying leitmotif is the increasing attention to On-Device Fraud (ODF)," Dutch cybersecurity company ThreatFabric  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "Just in the first five months of 2022 there has been an increase of more than 40% in malware families that abuse Android OS to perform fraud using the device itself, making it almost impossible to detect them using traditional fraud scoring engines." Hydra ,  FluBot  (aka Cabassous),  Cerberus ,  Octo , and  ERMAC  accounted for the most active banking trojans based on the number of samples observed during the same
Cytrox's Predator Spyware Targeted Android Users with Zero-Day Exploits

Cytrox's Predator Spyware Targeted Android Users with Zero-Day Exploits

May 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) on Thursday pointed fingers at a North Macedonian spyware developer named Cytrox for developing exploits against five zero-day (aka 0-day) flaws, four in Chrome and one in Android, to target Android users. "The 0-day exploits were used alongside n-day exploits as the developers took advantage of the time difference between when some critical bugs were patched but not flagged as security issues and when these patches were fully deployed across the Android ecosystem," TAG researchers Clement Lecigne and Christian Resell  said . Cytrox is alleged to have packaged the exploits and sold them to different government-backed actors located in Egypt, Armenia, Greece, Madagascar, Côte d'Ivoire, Serbia, Spain, and Indonesia, who, in turn, weaponized the bugs in at least three different campaigns. The commercial surveillance company is the maker of  Predator , an implant  analogous  to that of NSO Group's  Pegasus , and is known to hav
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