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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Android

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
Over 500,000 Android Users Downloaded a New Joker Malware App from Play Store

Over 500,000 Android Users Downloaded a New Joker Malware App from Play Store

December 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A malicious Android app with more than 500,000 downloads from the Google Play app store has been found hosting malware that stealthily exfiltrates users' contact lists to an attacker-controlled server and signs up users to unwanted paid premium subscriptions without their knowledge. The latest Joker malware was found in a messaging-focused app named  Color Message  ("com.guo.smscolor.amessage"), which has since been removed from the official app marketplace. In addition, it has been observed simulating clicks in order to generate revenue from malicious ads and connecting to servers located in Russia. Color Message "accesses users' contact list and exfiltrates it over the network [and] automatically subscribes to unwanted paid services," mobile security firm Pradeo  noted . "To make it difficult to be removed, the application has the capability to hides it icon once installed." "We is [sic] committed to ensuring that the app is as useful
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
More Stealthier Version of BrazKing Android Malware Spotted in the Wild

More Stealthier Version of BrazKing Android Malware Spotted in the Wild

November 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Banking apps from Brazil are being targeted by a more elusive and stealthier version of an Android remote access trojan (RAT) that's capable of carrying out financial fraud attacks by stealing two-factor authentication (2FA) codes and initiating rogue transactions from infected devices to transfer money from victims' accounts to an account operated by the threat actor. IBM X-Force dubbed the revamped banking malware BrazKing , a previous version of which was referred to as  PixStealer  by Check Point Research. The mobile RAT was first seen around November 2018,  according  to ThreatFabric. "It turns out that its developers have been working on making the malware more agile than before, moving its core overlay mechanism to pull fake overlay screens from the command-and-control (C2) server in real-time," IBM X-Force researcher Shahar Tavor  noted  in a technical deep dive published last week. "The malware […] allows the attacker to log keystrokes, extract the pa
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
Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks

Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks

November 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has rolled out its monthly security patches for Android with fixes for 39 flaws, including a zero-day vulnerability that it said is being actively exploited in the wild in limited, targeted attacks. Tracked as CVE-2021-1048 , the zero-day bug is described as a  use-after-free vulnerability  in the kernel that can be exploited for local privilege escalation. Use-after-free issues are dangerous as it could enable a threat actor to access or referencing memory after it has been freed, leading to a " write-what-where " condition that results in the execution of arbitrary code to gain control over a victim's system. "There are indications that CVE-2021-1048 may be under limited, targeted exploitation," the company  noted  in its November advisory without revealing technical details of the vulnerability, the nature of the intrusions, and the identities of the attackers that may have abused the flaw. Also remediated in the security patch are two critical re
This New Android Malware Can Gain Root Access to Your Smartphones

This New Android Malware Can Gain Root Access to Your Smartphones

October 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An unidentified threat actor has been linked to a new Android malware strain that features the ability to root smartphones and take complete control over infected smartphones while simultaneously taking steps to evade detection. The malware has been named " AbstractEmu " owing to its use of code abstraction and anti-emulation checks undertaken to thwart analysis right from the moment the apps are opened. Notably, the global mobile campaign is engineered to target and infect as many devices as possible indiscriminately. Lookout Threat Labs said it found a total of 19 Android applications that posed as utility apps and system tools like password managers, money managers, app launchers, and data saving apps, seven of which contained the rooting functionality. Only one of the rogue apps, called Lite Launcher, made its way to the official Google Play Store, attracting a total of 10,000 downloads before it was purged. The apps are said to have been prominently distributed via
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
Facebook Releases New Tool That Finds Security and Privacy Bugs in Android Apps

Facebook Releases New Tool That Finds Security and Privacy Bugs in Android Apps

September 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook on Wednesday announced it's open-sourcing  Mariana Trench , an Android-focused static analysis platform the company uses to detect and prevent security and privacy bugs in applications created for the mobile operating system at scale. "[Mariana Trench] is designed to be able to scan large mobile codebases and flag potential issues on  pull requests  before they make it into production," the Menlo Park-based social tech behemoth said . In a nutshell, the utility allows developers to frame rules for different data flows to scan the codebase for in order to unearth potential issues — say,  intent   redirection   flaws  that could result in the leak of sensitive data or injection vulnerabilities that would allow adversaries to insert arbitrary code — explicitly setting boundaries as to where user-supplied data entering the app is allowed to come from (source) and flow into (sink) such as methods that can execute code and retrieve or interact with user data. Dat
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
New Android Malware Steals Financial Data from 378 Banking and Wallet Apps

New Android Malware Steals Financial Data from 378 Banking and Wallet Apps

September 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The operators behind the BlackRock mobile malware have surfaced back with a new Android banking trojan called  ERMAC  that targets Poland and has its roots in the infamous Cerberus malware, according to the latest research. "The new trojan already has active distribution campaigns and is targeting 378 banking and wallet apps with overlays," ThreatFabric's CEO Cengiz Han Sahin said in an emailed statement. First campaigns involving ERMAC are believed to have begun in late August under the guise of the Google Chrome app. Since then, the attacks have expanded to include a range of apps such as banking, media players, delivery services, government applications, and antivirus solutions like  McAfee . Almost fully based on the notorious banking trojan  Cerberus , the Dutch cybersecurity firm's findings come from forum posts made by an actor named DukeEugene last month on August 17, inviting prospective customers to "rent a new android botnet with wide functionalit
New Android Malware Targeting US, Canadian Users with COVID-19 Lures

New Android Malware Targeting US, Canadian Users with COVID-19 Lures

September 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An "insidious" new SMS smishing malware has been found targeting Android mobile users in the U.S. and Canada as part of an ongoing campaign that uses SMS text message lures related to COVID-19 regulations and vaccine information in an attempt to steal personal and financial data. Proofpoint's messaging security subsidiary Cloudmark coined the emerging malware "TangleBot." "The malware has been given the moniker TangleBot because of its many levels of obfuscation and control over a myriad of entangled device functions, including contacts, SMS and phone capabilities, call logs, internet access, and camera and microphone," the researchers  said . Besides capabilities to obtain sensitive information, the malware is engineered to control device interaction with banking or financial apps using overlay screens and plunder account credentials from financial activities initiated on the phones. The attacks themselves originate from SMS messages that claim
Google to Auto-Reset Unused Android App Permissions for Billions of Devices

Google to Auto-Reset Unused Android App Permissions for Billions of Devices

September 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Friday said it's bringing an Android 11 feature that auto-resets permissions granted to apps that haven't been used in months, to devices running Android versions 6 and above. The expansion is expected to go live later this year in December 2021 and enabled on Android phones with Google Play services running Android 6.0 (API level 23) or higher, which the company said should cover "billions more devices." Google officially released Android 6.0 Marshmallow on October 5, 2015. With Android 11 that came out last year, the internet giant introduced a permission auto-reset option that helps improve user privacy by automatically resetting an app's permissions to access sensitive features like storage or camera if the app in question is left unopened for a few months. "Some apps and permissions are automatically exempted from revocation, like active Device Administrator apps used by enterprises, and permissions fixed by enterprise policy," Google
New Android Malware Uses VNC to Spy and Steal Passwords from Victims

New Android Malware Uses VNC to Spy and Steal Passwords from Victims

July 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented Android-based remote access trojan (RAT) has been found to use screen recording features to steal sensitive information on the device, including banking credentials, and open the door for on-device fraud. Dubbed "Vultur" due to its use of Virtual Network Computing (VNC)'s remote screen-sharing technology to gain full visibility on targeted users, the mobile malware was distributed via the official Google Play Store and masqueraded as an app named "Protection Guard," attracting over 5,000 installations. Banking and crypto-wallet apps from entities located in Italy, Australia, and Spain were the primary targets. "For the first time we are seeing an Android banking trojan that has screen recording and keylogging as the main strategy to harvest login credentials in an automated and scalable way," researchers from ThreatFabric  said  in a write-up shared with The Hacker News. "The actors chose to steer away from the commo
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