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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Android+Malware

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
Over 200 Apps on Play Store Caught Spying on Android Users Using Facestealer

Over 200 Apps on Play Store Caught Spying on Android Users Using Facestealer

May 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
More than 200 Android apps masquerading as fitness, photo editing, and puzzle apps have been observed distributing spyware called Facestealer to siphon user credentials and other valuable information.  "Similar to  Joker , another piece of mobile malware, Facestealer changes its code frequently, thus spawning many variants," Trend Micro analysts Cifer Fang, Ford Quin, and Zhengyu Dong  said  in a new report. "Since its discovery, the spyware has continuously beleaguered Google Play." Facestealer, first  documented  by Doctor Web in July 2021, refers to a group of fraudulent apps that invade the official app marketplace for Android with the goal of plundering sensitive data such as Facebook login credentials. Of the 200 apps, 42 are VPN services, followed by a camera (20) and photo editing applications (13). In addition to harvesting credentials, the apps are also designed to collect Facebook cookies and personally identifiable information associated with a vic
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
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
'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
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
Widespread FluBot and TeaBot Malware Campaigns Targeting Android Devices

Widespread FluBot and TeaBot Malware Campaigns Targeting Android Devices

January 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers from the Bitdefender Mobile Threats team said they have intercepted more than 100,000 malicious SMS messages attempting to distribute  Flubot  malware since the beginning of December. "Findings indicate attackers are modifying their subject lines and using older yet proven scams to entice users to click," the Romanian cybersecurity firm  detailed  in a report published Wednesday. "Additionally, attackers are rapidly changing the countries they are targeting in this campaign." The new wave of attacks is said to have been most active in Australia, Germany, Poland, Spain, Austria, and Italy, among others, with attacks spreading to newer countries like Romania, the Netherlands, and Thailand starting mid-January. FluBot (aka Cabassous) campaigns use smishing as the primary delivery method to target potential victims, wherein users receive an SMS message with the question "Is this you in this video?" and are tricked into clicking a link that inst
Mobile Banking Trojan BRATA Gains New, Dangerous Capabilities

Mobile Banking Trojan BRATA Gains New, Dangerous Capabilities

January 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Android malware tracked as BRATA has been updated with new features that grants it the ability to record keystrokes, track device locations, and even perform a factory reset in an apparent bid to cover up fraudulent wire transfers. The latest variants, detected late last year, are said to be distributed through a downloader to avoid being detected by security software, Italian cybersecurity firm Cleafy said in a  technical write-up . Targets include banks and financial institutions in the U.K., Poland, Italy, and Latin America. "What makes Android RAT so interesting for attackers is its capability to operate directly on the victim devices instead of using a new device," Cleafy researchers  noted  in December 2021. "By doing so, Threat Actors (TAs) can drastically reduce the possibility of being flagged 'as suspicious', since the device's fingerprinting is already known to the bank." First seen in the wild at the end of 2018 and short for "B
New Android Malware Targeting Brazil's Itaú Unibanco Bank Customers

New Android Malware Targeting Brazil's Itaú Unibanco Bank Customers

December 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have discovered a new Android banking malware that targets Brazil's Itaú Unibanco with the help of lookalike Google Play Store pages to carry out fraudulent financial transactions on victim devices without their knowledge. "This application has a similar icon and name that could trick users into thinking it is a legitimate app related to Itaú Unibanco," Cyble researchers  said  in a report published last week. "The [threat actor] has created a fake Google Play Store page and hosted the malware that targets Itaú Unibanco on it under the name  'sincronizador.apk .'" The tactic of leveraging fake app store pages as a lure is not new. In March, Meta (previously Facebook)  disclosed  details of an attack campaign that used its platform as part of a broader operation to spy on Uyghur Muslims using rogue third-party websites that used replica domains for popular news portals and websites designed to resemble third-party Android app stores, where attackers put fake keyboard, pr
4 Android Banking Trojan Campaigns Targeted Over 300,000 Devices in 2021

4 Android Banking Trojan Campaigns Targeted Over 300,000 Devices in 2021

November 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Four different Android banking trojans were spread via the official Google Play Store between August and November 2021, resulting in more than 300,000 infections through various dropper apps that posed as seemingly harmless utility apps to take full control of the infected devices. Designed to deliver Anatsa (aka TeaBot), Alien, ERMAC, and Hydra, cybersecurity firm ThreatFabric  said  the malware campaigns are not only more refined, but also engineered to have a small malicious footprint, effectively ensuring that the payloads are installed only on smartphones devices from specific regions and preventing the malware from being downloaded during the publishing process . Once installed, these banking trojans can surreptitiously siphon user passwords and SMS-based two-factor authentication codes, keystrokes, screenshots, and even deplete users' bank accounts without their knowledge by using a tool called Automatic Transfer System ( ATSs ). The apps have since been removed from the
New Chinotto Spyware Targets North Korean Defectors, Human Rights Activists

New Chinotto Spyware Targets North Korean Defectors, Human Rights Activists

November 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
North Korean defectors, journalists who cover North Korea-related news, and entities in South Korea are being zeroed in on by a nation-state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) as part of a new wave of highly-targeted surveillance attacks. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky attributed the infiltrations to a North Korean hacker group tracked as  ScarCruft , also known as  APT37 , Reaper Group, InkySquid, and Ricochet Chollima. "The actor utilized three types of malware with similar functionalities: versions implemented in PowerShell, Windows executables and Android applications," the company's Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT)  said  in a new report published today. "Although intended for different platforms, they share a similar command and control scheme based on HTTP communication. Therefore, the malware operators can control the whole malware family through one set of command and control scripts." Likely active since at least 2012, ScarC
APT C-23 Hackers Using New Android Spyware Variant to Target Middle East Users

APT C-23 Hackers Using New Android Spyware Variant to Target Middle East Users

November 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor known for striking targets in the Middle East has evolved its Android spyware yet again with enhanced capabilities that allow it to be stealthier and more persistent while passing off as seemingly innocuous app updates to stay under the radar. The new variants have "incorporated new features into their malicious apps that make them more resilient to actions by users, who might try to remove them manually, and to security and web hosting companies that attempt to block access to, or shut down, their command-and-control server domains," Sophos threat researcher Pankaj Kohli  said  in a report published Tuesday. Also known by the monikers  VAMP ,  FrozenCell ,  GnatSpy , and  Desert Scorpion , the mobile spyware has been a preferred tool of choice for the APT-C-23 threat group since at least 2017, with  successive iterations  featuring extended surveillance functionality to vacuum files, images, contacts and call logs, read notifications from messaging apps, r
Over 9 Million Android Phones Running Malware Apps from Huawei's AppGallery

Over 9 Million Android Phones Running Malware Apps from Huawei's AppGallery

November 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
At least 9.3 million Android devices have been infected by a new class of malware that disguises itself as dozens of arcade, shooter, and strategy games on Huawei's AppGallery marketplace to steal device information and victims' mobile phone numbers. The mobile campaign was disclosed by researchers from Doctor Web, who classified the trojan as " Android.Cynos.7.origin ," owing to the fact that the malware is a modified version of the Cynos malware. Of the total 190 rogue games identified, some were designed to target Russian-speaking users, while others were aimed at Chinese or international audiences. Once installed, the apps prompted the victims for permission to make and manage phone calls, using the access to harvest their phone numbers along with other device information such as geolocation, mobile network parameters, and system metadata.  "At first glance, a mobile phone number leak may seem like an insignificant problem. Yet in reality, it can serio
SharkBot — A New Android Trojan Stealing Banking and Cryptocurrency Accounts

SharkBot — A New Android Trojan Stealing Banking and Cryptocurrency Accounts

November 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Monday took the wraps off a new Android trojan that takes advantage of accessibility features on mobile devices to siphon credentials from banking and cryptocurrency services in Italy, the U.K., and the U.S. Dubbed " SharkBot " by Cleafy, the malware is designed to strike a total of 27 targets — counting 22 unnamed international banks in Italy and the U.K. as well as five cryptocurrency apps in the U.S. — at least since late October 2021 and is believed to be in its early stages of development, with no overlaps found to that of any known families. "The main goal of SharkBot is to initiate money transfers from the compromised devices via Automatic Transfer Systems (ATS) technique bypassing multi-factor authentication mechanisms (e.g., SCA)," the researchers said in a report. "Once SharkBot is successfully installed in the victim's device, attackers can obtain sensitive banking information through the abuse of Accessibility S
Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps

Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps

October 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A global fraud campaign has been found leveraging 151 malicious Android apps with 10.5 million downloads to rope users into premium subscription services without their consent and knowledge. The  premium SMS scam  campaign — dubbed " UltimaSMS " — is believed to commenced in May 2021 and involved apps that cover a wide range of categories, including keyboards, QR code scanners, video and photo editors, spam call blockers, camera filters, and games, with most of the fraudulent apps downloaded by users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the U.A.E., Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the U.S., and Poland. Although a significant  chunk of the apps  in question has since been removed from the Google Play Store, 82 of them have continued to remain available in the online marketplace as of October 19, 2021. It all starts with the apps prompting users to enter their phone numbers and email addresses to gain access to the advertised features, only to subscribe the victims to premium SM
Hackers Targeting Brazil's PIX Payment System to Drain Users' Bank Accounts

Hackers Targeting Brazil's PIX Payment System to Drain Users' Bank Accounts

September 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Two newly discovered malicious Android applications on Google Play Store have been used to target users of Brazil's instant payment ecosystem in a likely attempt to lure victims into fraudulently transferring their entire account balances into another bank account under cybercriminals' control. "The attackers distributed two different variants of banking malware, named PixStealer and MalRhino , through two separate malicious applications […] to carry out their attacks," Check Point Research said in an analysis shared with The Hacker News. "Both malicious applications were designed to steal money of victims through user interaction and the original PIX application." The two apps in question, which were uncovered in April 2021, have since been removed from the app store. Launched in November 2020 by the Central Bank of Brazil, the country's monetary authority,  Pix  is a state-owned payments platform that enables consumers and companies to make mone
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