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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: mobile security

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

April 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
In our previous stories, you might have already read about various campaigns warning how threat actors are capitalizing on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to infect your computers and mobile devices with malware or scam you out of your money. Unfortunately, to some extent, it's working, and that's because the attack surface is changing and expanding rapidly as many organizations and business tasks are going digital without much preparation, exposing themselves to more potential threats. Most of the recent cyberattacks are primarily exploiting the fears around the COVID-19 outbreak—fueled by disinformation and fake news—to distribute malware via Google Play apps , malicious links and attachments, and execute ransomware attacks. Here, we took a look at some of the wide range of unseen threats rising in the digital space, powered by coronavirus-themed lures that cybercriminals are using for espionage and commercial gain. The latest development adds to a l
Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones

Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones

March 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered watering-hole campaign is targeting Apple iPhone users in Hong Kong by using malicious website links as a lure to install spyware on the devices. According to research published by Trend Micro and Kaspersky , the " Operation Poisoned News " attack leverages a remote iOS exploit chain to deploy a feature-rich implant called 'LightSpy' through links to local news websites, which when clicked, executes the malware payload and allows an interloper to exfiltrate sensitive data from the affected device and even take full control. Watering-hole attacks typically let a bad actor compromise a specific group of end-users by infecting websites that they are known to visit, with an intention to gain access to the victim's device and load it with malware. The APT group, dubbed "TwoSail Junk" by Kaspersky, is said to be leveraging vulnerabilities present in iOS 12.1 and 12.2 spanning all models from iPhone 6 to the iPhone X, with the attac
Europol Arrests 26 SIM Swapping Fraudsters For Stealing Over $3 Million

Europol Arrests 26 SIM Swapping Fraudsters For Stealing Over $3 Million

March 16, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Europol, along with the Spanish and the Romanian national police, has arrested 26 individuals in connection with the theft of over €3.5 million ($3.9 million) by hijacking people's phone numbers via SIM swapping attacks. The law enforcement agencies arrested 12 and 14 people in Spain and Romania, respectively, as part of a joint operation against two different groups of SIM swappers, Europol said . The development comes as SIM swapping attacks are emerging as one of the biggest threats to telecom operators and mobile users alike. The increasingly popular and damaging hack is a clever social engineering trick used by cybercriminals to persuade phone carriers into transferring their victims' cell services to a SIM card under their control. The SIM swap then grants attackers access to incoming phone calls, text messages, and one-time verification codes (or one-time passwords ) that various websites send via SMS messages as part of the two-factor authentication (2FA) proc
New LTE Network Flaw Could Let Attackers Impersonate 4G Mobile Users

New LTE Network Flaw Could Let Attackers Impersonate 4G Mobile Users

February 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A group of academics from Ruhr University Bochum and New York University Abu Dhabi have uncovered security flaws in 4G LTE and 5G networks that could potentially allow hackers to impersonate users on the network and even sign up for paid subscriptions on their behalf. The impersonation attack — named " IMPersonation Attacks in 4G NeTworks " (or IMP4GT ) — exploits the mutual authentication method used by the mobile phone and the network's base station to verify their respective identities to manipulate data packets in transit. "The IMP4GT attacks exploit the missing integrity protection for user data, and a reflection mechanism of the IP stack mobile operating system. We can make use of the reflection mechanism to build an encryption and decryption oracle. Along with the lack of integrity protection, this allows to inject arbitrary packets and to decrypt packets," the researchers explained. The research was presented at the Network Distributed System Se
Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads

Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads

February 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has banned nearly 600 Android apps from the Play Store for bombarding users with disruptive ads and violating its advertising guidelines. The company categorizes disruptive ads as "ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions," such as a full-screen ad served when attempting to make a phone call. Although Google didn't name the specific apps in question, many of the apps — which had been installed more than 4.5 billion times — primarily targeted English-speaking users and were mainly from developers based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, according to Buzzfeed News. Highlighting that malicious developers are getting "more savvy in deploying and masking disruptive ads," the company said it has developed new counter mechanisms to detect such behavior. Trouble in Google Play Store This is not the first time adware apps have been removed from the Google P
Unpatched Strandhogg Android Vulnerability Actively Exploited in the Wild

Unpatched Strandhogg Android Vulnerability Actively Exploited in the Wild

December 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new unpatched vulnerability in the Android operating system that dozens of malicious mobile apps are already exploiting in the wild to steal users' banking and other login credentials and spy on their activities. Dubbed Strandhogg , the vulnerability resides in the multitasking feature of Android that can be exploited by a malicious app installed on a device to masquerade as any other app on it, including any privileged system app. In other words, when a user taps the icon of a legitimate app, the malware exploiting the Strandhogg vulnerability can intercept and hijack this task to display a fake interface to the user instead of launching the legitimate application. By tricking users into thinking they are using a legitimate app, the vulnerability makes it possible for malicious apps to conveniently steal users' credentials using fake login screens, as shown in the video demonstration. "The vulnerability allows an attacke
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020

October 25, 2019Mohit Kumar
Mobile carriers in the United States will finally offer a universal cross-carrier communication standard for the next-generation RCS messaging service that is meant to replace SMS and has the potential to change the way consumers interact with brands for years to come. All major United States mobile phone carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have joined forces to launch a new initiative that will replace SMS with RCS mobile messaging standard . What's more? The initiative is also working with its carrier ownership group and other companies to develop and deploy the new RCS standard in a new text messaging app for Android phones that is expected to be launched in 2020. The goal of this joint venture , dubbed the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) , is to deliver the GSMA's Rich Communications Service (RCS) industry standard to consumers and businesses on each of the four carriers, both in the United States and globally. "Efforts like
Just An SMS Could Let Remote Attackers Access All Your Emails, Experts Warn

Just An SMS Could Let Remote Attackers Access All Your Emails, Experts Warn

September 04, 2019Mohit Kumar
Beware! Billion of Android users can easily be tricked into changing their devices' critical network settings with just an SMS-based phishing attack. Whenever you insert a new SIM in your phone and connects to your cellular network for the very first time, your carrier service automatically configures or sends you a message containing network-specific settings required to connect to data services. While manually installing it on your device, have you ever noticed what configurations these messages, technically known as OMA CP messages, include? Well, believe me, most users never bother about it if their mobile Internet services work smoothly. But you should worry about these settings, as installing untrusted settings can put your data privacy at risk, allowing remote attackers to spy on your data communications, a team of cybersecurity researchers told The Hacker News. Mobile carriers send OMA CP (Open Mobile Alliance Client Provisioning) messages containing APN settin
Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram

Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram

July 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
If you think that the media files you receive on your end-to-end encrypted secure messaging apps can not be tampered with, you need to think again. Security researchers at Symantec yesterday demonstrated multiple interesting attack scenarios against WhatsApp and Telegram Android apps, which could allow malicious actors to spread fake news or scam users into sending payments to wrong accounts. Dubbed " Media File Jacking ," the attack leverages an already known fact that any app installed on a device can access and rewrite files saved in the external storage, including files saved by other apps installed on the same device. WhatsApp and Telegram allow users to choose if they want to save all incoming multimedia files on internal or external storage of their device. However, WhatsApp for Android by default automatically stores media files in the external storage, while Telegram for Android uses internal storage to store users files that are not accessible to any othe
New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices

New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices

July 11, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Are you sure the WhatsApp app you are using on your Android device is legitimate, even if it's working perfectly as intended? ...Or the JioTV, AppLock, HotStar, Flipkart, Opera Mini or Truecaller app—if you have installed any of these? I'm asking this because cybersecurity researchers just yesterday revealed eye-opening details about a widespread Android malware campaign wherein attackers silently replaced installed legitimate apps with their malicious versions on nearly 25 million mobile phones. Now the important question here is how they're doing it and why? According to researchers at Check Point, attackers are distributing a new kind of Android malware that disguises itself as innocent-looking photo editing, adult entertainment, or gaming apps and available through widely used third-party app stores. Dubbed Agent Smith , the malware takes advantage of multiple Android vulnerabilities, such as the  Janus flaw and the Man-in-the-Disk flaw , and injects malic
Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

July 09, 2019Mohit Kumar
Smartphones are a goldmine of sensitive data, and modern apps work as diggers that continuously collect every possible information from your devices. The security model of modern mobile operating systems, like Android and iOS, is primarily based on permissions that explicitly define which sensitive services, device capabilities, or user information an app can access, allowing users decide what apps can access. However, new findings by a team of researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in California revealed that mobile app developers are using shady techniques to harvest users' data even after they deny permissions. In their talk " 50 Ways to Pour Your Data " [ PDF ] at PrivacyCon hosted by the Federal Trade Commission last Thursday, researchers presented their findings that outline how more than 1,300 Android apps are collecting users' precise geolocation data and phone identifiers even when they've explicitly denied the required permi
Android July 2019 Security Update Patches 33 New Vulnerabilities

Android July 2019 Security Update Patches 33 New Vulnerabilities

July 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Google has started rolling out this month's security updates for its mobile operating system platform to address a total of 33 new security vulnerabilities affecting Android devices, 9 of which have been rated critical in severity. The vulnerabilities affect various Android components, including the Android operating system, framework, library, media framework, as well as Qualcomm components, including closed-source components. Three of the critical vulnerabilities patched this month reside in Android's Media framework, the most severe of which could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted device, within the context of a privileged process, by convincing users into opening a specially crafted malicious file. "The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigations are turned off for development purposes or if successfully bypas
Unpatched Flaw in UC Browser Apps Could Let Hackers Launch Phishing Attacks

Unpatched Flaw in UC Browser Apps Could Let Hackers Launch Phishing Attacks

May 08, 2019Wang Wei
A bug hunter has discovered and publicly disclosed details of an unpatched browser address bar spoofing vulnerability that affects popular Chinese UC Browser and UC Browser Mini apps for Android. Developed by Alibaba-owned UCWeb, UC Browser is one of the most popular mobile browsers, specifically in China and India, with a massive user base of more than half a billion users worldwide. According to the details security researcher Arif Khan shared with The Hacker News, the vulnerability resides in the way User Interface on both browsers handles a special built-in feature that was otherwise designed to improve users Google search experience. The vulnerability, which has yet not assigned any CVE identifier, could allow an attacker to control URL string displayed in the address bar, eventually letting a malicious website to pose as some legitimate site. The vulnerability affects the latest UC Browser version 12.11.2.1184 and UC Browser Mini version 12.10.1.1192—that is current
Google Makes it Tough for Rogue App Developers Get Back on Android Play Store

Google Makes it Tough for Rogue App Developers Get Back on Android Play Store

April 16, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Even after Google's security oversight over its already-huge Android ecosystem has evolved over the years, malware apps still keep coming back to Google Play Store. Sometimes just reposting an already detected malware app from a newly created Play Store account, or using other developers' existing accounts, is enough for 'bad-faith' developers to trick the Play Store into distributing unsafe apps to Android users. Since the mobile device platform is growing rapidly, every new effort Google makes apparently comes with trade-offs. For example, Google recently made some changes in its Play Store policies and added new restriction in Android APIs that now makes it mandatory for every new app to undergo rigorous security testing and review process before appearing in the Google Play Store. These efforts also include: restricting developers from abusing Android accessibility services, restricting apps access to certain permissions like call logs and SMS permi
'Exodus' Surveillance Malware Found Targeting Apple iOS Users

'Exodus' Surveillance Malware Found Targeting Apple iOS Users

April 09, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered an iOS version of the powerful mobile phone surveillance app that was initially targeting Android devices through apps on the official Google Play Store. Dubbed Exodus , as the malware is called, the iOS version of the spyware was discovered by security researchers at LookOut during their analysis of its Android samples they had found last year. Unlike its Android variant, the iOS version of Exodus has been distributed outside of the official App Store, primarily through phishing websites that imitate Italian and Turkmenistani mobile carriers. Since Apple restricts direct installation of apps outside of its official app store, the iOS version of Exodus is abusing the Apple Developer Enterprise program, which allows enterprises to distribute their own in-house apps directly to their employees without needing to use the iOS App Store. "Each of the phishing sites contained links to a distribution manifest, which contained metadata
Unpatched Flaw in Xiaomi's Built-in Browser App Lets Hackers Spoof URLs

Unpatched Flaw in Xiaomi's Built-in Browser App Lets Hackers Spoof URLs

April 05, 2019Mohit Kumar
EXCLUSIVE — Beware, if you are using a Xiaomi's Mi or Redmi smartphone, you should immediately update its built-in MI browser or the Mint browser available on Google Play Store for non-Xiaomi Android devices. That's because both web browser apps created by Xiaomi are vulnerable to a critical vulnerability which has not yet been patched even after being privately reported to the company, a researcher told The Hacker News. The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-10875 and discovered by security researcher Arif Khan , is a browser address bar spoofing issue that originates because of a logical flaw in the browser's interface, allowing a malicious website to control URLs displayed in the address bar. According to the advisory, affected browsers are not properly handling the "q" query parameter in the URLs, thus fail to display the portion of an https URL before the ?q= substring in the address bar. Since the address bar of a web browser is the most r
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