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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: mobile hacking

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
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
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
TeaBot Android Banking Malware Spreads Again Through Google Play Store Apps

TeaBot Android Banking Malware Spreads Again Through Google Play Store Apps

March 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An Android banking trojan designed to steal credentials and SMS messages has been observed once again sneaking past Google Play Store protections to target users of more than 400 banking and financial apps, including those from Russia, China, and the U.S. "TeaBot RAT capabilities are achieved via the device screen's live streaming (requested on-demand) plus the abuse of Accessibility Services for remote interaction and key-logging," Cleafy researchers  said  in a report. "This enables Threat Actors (TAs) to perform ATO (Account Takeover) directly from the compromised phone, also known as 'On-device fraud.'" Also known by the names Anatsa and Toddler, TeaBot first  emerged  in May 2021, camouflaging its malicious functions by posing as seemingly innocuous PDF document and QR code scanner apps that are distributed via the official Google Play Store instead of third-party apps stores or via fraudulent websites. Further research published by Swiss cyber
New Mobile Network Vulnerabilities Affect All Cellular Generations Since 2G

New Mobile Network Vulnerabilities Affect All Cellular Generations Since 2G

December 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have disclosed security vulnerabilities in handover, a fundamental mechanism that undergirds modern cellular networks, which could be exploited by adversaries to launch denial-of-service (DoS) and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks using low-cost equipment. The "vulnerabilities in the handover procedure are not limited to one handover case only but they impact all different handover cases and scenarios that are based on unverified measurement reports and signal strength thresholds," researchers Evangelos Bitsikas and Christina Pöpper from the New York University Abu Dhabi said in a  new paper . "The problem affects all generations since 2G (GSM), remaining unsolved so far." Handover , also known as handoff, is a process in telecommunications in which a phone call or a data session is transferred from one  cell site  (aka base station) to another cell tower without losing connectivity during the transmission. This method is crucial to establishing cellul
Pegasus Spyware Reportedly Hacked iPhones of U.S. State Department and Diplomats

Pegasus Spyware Reportedly Hacked iPhones of U.S. State Department and Diplomats

December 04, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Apple reportedly notified several U.S. Embassy and State Department employees that their iPhones may have been targeted by an unknown assailant using state-sponsored spyware created by the controversial Israeli company NSO Group, according to multiple reports from  Reuters  and  The Washington Post . At least 11 U.S. Embassy officials stationed in Uganda or focusing on issues pertaining to the country are said to have  singled out  using iPhones registered to their overseas phone numbers, although the identity of the threat actors behind the intrusions, or the nature of the information sought, remains unknown as yet. The attacks, which were carried out in the last several months, mark the first known time the sophisticated surveillance software has been put to use against U.S. government employees. NSO Group is the maker of Pegasus , military-grade spyware that allows its government clients to stealthily plunder files and photos, eavesdrop on conversations, and track the whereabou
Researchers Warn Iranian Users of Widespread SMS Phishing Campaigns

Researchers Warn Iranian Users of Widespread SMS Phishing Campaigns

December 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Socially engineered SMS messages are being used to install malware on Android devices as part of a widespread phishing campaign that impersonates the Iranian government and social security services to make away with credit card details and steal funds from victims' bank accounts. Unlike other variants of  banking malware  that bank of overlay attacks to capture sensitive data without the knowledge of the victim, the financially motivated operation uncovered by Check Point Research is designed to trick the targets into handing over their credit card information by sending them a legitimate-looking SMS message that contains a link, which, when clicked, downloads a malware-laced app onto their devices. "The malicious application not only collects the victim's credit card numbers, but also gains access to their 2FA authentication SMS, and turn[s] the victim's device into a bot capable of spreading similar phishing SMS to other potential victims," Check Point resear
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
NYT Journalist Repeatedly Hacked with Pegasus after Reporting on Saudi Arabia

NYT Journalist Repeatedly Hacked with Pegasus after Reporting on Saudi Arabia

October 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The iPhone of New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard was repeatedly hacked with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware tool over a three-year period stretching between June 2018 to June 2021, resulting in infections twice in July 2020 and June 2021. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which  publicized  the findings on Sunday, said the "targeting took place while he was reporting on Saudi Arabia, and writing a book about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman." The research institute did not attribute the infiltrations to a specific government. In a  statement  shared with Hubbard, the Israeli company denied its involvement in the hacks and dismissed the findings as "speculation," while noting that the journalist was not "a target of Pegasus by any of NSO's customers." To date, NSO Group is believed to have leveraged at least three different iOS exploits — namely an iMessage zero-click exploit in December 2019, a  KISMET  exploit targeting iOS 13
Experts Reveal Over 150 Ways to Steal Control of 58 Android Stalkerware Apps

Experts Reveal Over 150 Ways to Steal Control of 58 Android Stalkerware Apps

May 18, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A total of 158 privacy and security issues have been identified in 58 Android stalkware apps from various vendors that could enable a malicious actor to take control of a victim's device, hijack a stalker's account, intercept data, achieve remote code execution, and even frame the victim by uploading fabricated evidence. The new findings, which come from an analysis of 86 stalkerware apps for the Android platform undertaken by Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET, highlight the unintended consequences of a practice that's not only unethical but in the process could also expose private and intimate information of the victims and leave them at risk of cyberattacks and fraud. "Since there could be a close relationship between stalker and victim, the stalker's private information could also be exposed," ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko  said  in a Monday write-up. "During our research, we identified that some stalkerware keeps information about the stalkers using
6 Unpatched Flaws Disclosed in Remote Mouse App for Android and iOS

6 Unpatched Flaws Disclosed in Remote Mouse App for Android and iOS

May 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as six zero-days have been uncovered in an application called Remote Mouse, allowing a remote attacker to achieve full code execution without any user interaction. The unpatched flaws, collectively named ' Mouse Trap, ' were disclosed on Wednesday by security researcher Axel Persinger, who said, "It's clear that this application is very vulnerable and puts users at risk with bad authentication mechanisms, lack of encryption, and poor default configuration." Remote Mouse is a remote control application for Android and iOS that turns mobile phones and tablets into a wireless mouse, keyboard, and trackpad for computers, with support for voice typing, adjusting computer volume, and switching between applications with the help of a Remote Mouse server installed on the machine. The Android app alone has been installed over 10 million times. In a nutshell, the issues, which were identified by analysing the packets sent from the Android app to its Windows ser
New Study Warns of Security Threats Linked to Recycled Phone Numbers

New Study Warns of Security Threats Linked to Recycled Phone Numbers

May 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new academic study has highlighted a number of privacy and security pitfalls associated with recycling mobile phone numbers that could be abused to stage a variety of exploits, including account takeovers, conduct phishing and spam attacks, and even prevent victims from signing up for online services. Nearly 66% of the recycled numbers that were sampled were found to be tied to previous owners' online accounts at popular websites, potentially enabling account hijacks by simply recovering the accounts tied to those numbers. "An attacker can cycle through the available numbers shown on online number change interfaces and check if any of them are associated with online accounts of previous owners," the researchers  said . If so, the attacker can then obtain these numbers and reset the password on the accounts, and receive and correctly enter the OTP sent via SMS upon login." The findings are part of an analysis of a sample of 259 phone numbers available to new su
Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware

Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware

April 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook on Wednesday said it took steps to dismantle malicious activities perpetrated by two state-sponsored hacking groups operating out of Palestine that abused its platform to distribute malware. The social media giant attributed the attacks to a network connected to the Preventive Security Service ( PSS ), the security apparatus of the State of Palestine, and another threat actor known as Arid Viper (aka Desert Falcon and APT-C-23), the latter of which is alleged to be connected to the cyber arm of Hamas. The two digital espionage campaigns, active in 2019 and 2020, exploited a range of devices and platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, with the PSS cluster primarily targeting domestic audiences in Palestine. The other set of attacks went after users in the Palestinian territories and Syria and, to a lesser extent Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya. Both the groups appear to have leveraged the platform as a springboard to launch a variety of social engineering attacks in
New WhatsApp Bugs Could've Let Attackers Hack Your Phone Remotely

New WhatsApp Bugs Could've Let Attackers Hack Your Phone Remotely

April 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently addressed two security vulnerabilities in its messaging app for Android that could have been exploited to execute malicious code remotely on the device and even exfiltrate sensitive information. The flaws take aim at devices running Android versions up to and including Android 9 by carrying out what's known as a "man-in-the-disk" attack that makes it possible for adversaries to compromise an app by manipulating certain data being exchanged between it and the external storage. "The two aforementioned WhatsApp vulnerabilities would have made it possible for attackers to remotely collect TLS cryptographic material for TLS 1.3 and TLS 1.2 sessions," researchers from Census Labs  said  today.  "With the TLS secrets at hand, we will demonstrate how a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack can lead to the compromise of WhatsApp communications, to remote code execution on the victim device and to the extraction of Noise protocol keys u
New 5G Flaw Exposes Priority Networks to Location Tracking and Other Attacks

New 5G Flaw Exposes Priority Networks to Location Tracking and Other Attacks

March 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
New research into  5G architecture  has uncovered a security flaw in its network slicing and virtualized network functions that could be exploited to allow data access and denial of service attacks between different network slices on a mobile operator's 5G network. AdaptiveMobile shared its findings with the GSM Association (GSMA) on February 4, 2021, following which the weaknesses were collectively designated as CVD-2021-0047. 5G is an evolution of current 4G broadband cellular network technology, and is based on what's called a service-based architecture (SBA) that provides a modular framework to deploy a set of interconnected network functions, allowing consumers to discover and authorize their access to a plethora of services. The network functions are also responsible for registering subscribers, managing sessions and subscriber profiles, storing subscriber data, and connecting the users (UE or user equipment) to the internet via a base station (gNB). What's more,
FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations

FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations

September 25, 2020Mohit Kumar
Amnesty International today exposed details of a new surveillance campaign that targeted Egyptian civil society organizations with previously undisclosed versions of FinSpy spyware designed to target Linux and macOS systems. Developed by a German company , FinSpy is extremely powerful spying software that is being sold as a legal law enforcement tool to governments around the world but has also been found in use by oppressive and dubious regimes to spy on activists. FinSpy, also known as FinFisher, can target both desktop and mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, to gain spying capabilities, including secretly turning on their webcams and microphones, recording everything the victim types on the keyboard, intercepting calls, and exfiltration of data. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International , the newly discovered campaign is not linked to 'NilePhish,' a hacking group known for attacking Egyptian NGOs in a ser
New Unpatched Bluetooth Flaw Lets Hackers Easily Target Nearby Devices

New Unpatched Bluetooth Flaw Lets Hackers Easily Target Nearby Devices

September 10, 2020Mohit Kumar
Bluetooth SIG—an organization that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards—today issued a statement informing users and vendors of a newly reported unpatched vulnerability that potentially affects hundreds of millions of devices worldwide. Discovered independently by two separate teams of academic researchers, the flaw resides in the Cross-Transport Key Derivation (CTKD) of devices supporting both — Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate (BR/EDR) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard. Cross-Transport Key Derivation (CTKD) is a Bluetooth component responsible for negotiating the authenticate keys when pairing two Bluetooth devices together, also known as "dual-mode" devices. Dubbed 'BLURtooth' and tracked as CVE-2020-15802 , the flaw exposes devices powered with Bluetooth 4.0 or 5.0 technology, allowing attackers to unauthorizedly connect to a targeted nearby device by overwriting the authenticated key or reducing the encryption key strength. "Dual-mod
New Attack Lets Hackers Decrypt VoLTE Encryption to Spy on Phone Calls

New Attack Lets Hackers Decrypt VoLTE Encryption to Spy on Phone Calls

August 13, 2020Swati Khandelwal
A team of academic researchers—who previously made the headlines earlier this year for uncovering severe security issues in the 4G LTE and 5G networks —today presented a new attack called ' ReVoLTE ,' that could let remote attackers break the encryption used by VoLTE voice calls and spy on targeted phone calls. The attack doesn't exploit any flaw in the Voice over LTE (VoLTE) protocol; instead, it leverages weak implementation of the LTE mobile network by most telecommunication providers in practice, allowing an attacker to eavesdrop on the encrypted phone calls made by targeted victims. VoLTE or Voice over Long Term Evolution protocol is a standard high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals, including Internet of things (IoT) devices and wearables, deploying 4G LTE radio access technology. The crux of the problem is that most mobile operators often use the same keystream for two subsequent calls within one radio connection to encrypt th
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