Category Archives: android malware

An Android Malware’s Robbing PayPal Accounts!



Security researchers have advised the Android users to keep a check on their PayPal accounts as quite recently, an Android malware has emerged which could easily dodge the security authentication of the application.

Not of late, a case got reported wherein a 1,000 pounds attempt at pilfering the victim’s PayPal account was made.

The attacking cyber-con enters the victim’s PayPal account on their own and easily penetrates the application’s Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA). There’s no role of harvesting login credentials.
 
The users, who have and haven’t activated their Two-Factor-Authentication, are susceptible to this attack alike.

The malware which is reportedly being distributed by a third party, primarily, has the Android’s PayPal app on its radar. Other malware with the same disposition have also been dug out.

By manipulating Android’s Accessibility Services is how the cyber-con behind it all, targets its aim on PayPal.

A researching organization got its hands on the malware which is distributed on third-party app stores and was concealed behind the veil of a battery optimization tool which goes by the name of “Optimization Android”.
Google Play Store has been a part of hearsay because of other malware that have been found on it which possess a similar flair for targeting banking apps.

The aforementioned malware’s key operation is to pilfer money from its target’s PayPal account by initiating a malicious service into the victim’s system.

And to activate this service a request is sent to the victim by the so called bland “Enable Statistics Service”.

If on a vulnerable device the official PayPal is downloaded, the malware would flash a notification to launch it.

The attacker need only wait for the user to log into the app. Once that happens, the “Accessibility Service” would start to impersonate the user’s click and will transfer the money from the victim’s account to the PayPal Address of the cyber-con.

According to the researchers, the attack doesn’t take more than seconds to fall through and in no practical reality can a user stop it in time.


The kind of currency that gets transferred hinges on the victim’s location. The work’s done within a short duration of 5 seconds.
 
The only loophole for the attackers and the only chance at the users’ safety is the kind of balance the victim has. That is, if there is less balance in the account than what the attacker has asked for and no payment cards attached to the account.

Every time the official PayPal application is launched onto the system, the improper “Accessibility Service” gets activated, making the device vulnerable to numerous more attacks.

PayPal has been officially contacted and informed about the erroneous makeup of the application and the risk the users entail.

Five other applications with an analogous disposition to the Optimization Android have been exposed in recent times, on the Google App store.

Rumor has it, that the users with this app already on their ‘downloaded apps’ list have potentially by now entered the trap and fallen prey to the attack.

A few users in Brazil have also come across this unfortunate attack.


Remedies And Advice From The Researchers
·         Keep on checking the application for any fishy transactions. If found, contact the PayPal Resolution Center and report the issue.
·         Keep track of the PayPal account balance.
·         It would really help to change the internet banking and connected e-mail passwords.
·         Try using “Android’s Safe Mode” and try uninstalling the app with the name, “Optimization Android”.
·         Keep your devices updated.
·         Keep a check on what permissions you grant to the application so downloaded.
·         Only use the official Google Play Store App to download other applications.


8 Popular Android Apps Caught Up In Million-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme

Cheetah Mobile—a prominent Chinese app company, known for its popular utility apps like Clean Master and Battery Doctor—and one of its subsidiary Kika Tech have allegedly been caught up in an Android ad fraud scheme that stole millions of dollars from advertisers. According to app analytics firm Kochava, 7 Android apps developed by Cheetah Mobile and 1 from Kika Tech with a total 2 billion

Android Malware Intercepts SMS 2FA: We have the Logs!

A couple years ago I was doing some phishing investigations training at the Police School in Santiago, Chile.  One module in my training was called "Logs Don't Lie" which pointed out that in most cases we have everything we need to prioritize a phishing response just by looking at the log files, either on the compromised phishing server, or in the Financial Institutions own logs.

Malware C2 servers are another great place to apply the rule "Logs Don't Lie."  Most security researchers realize that there is a great cloud of fellow researchers on Twitter sharing little tips and glimpses of their investigations.  @LukasStefanko and @nullcookies and I have been looking at a C2 server for a piece of Android malware.  And the Logs are AMAZINGLY helpful at understanding just what kind of damage such a trojan can do!    (Sidenote:  @nullcookies is a monster for finding fresh and interesting phish (and often related tools), while @LukasStefanko is an awesome malware analyst for ESET, specializing in Android-based malware.  You should follow both on Twitter if you care about such things.  Thanks to them both for the pointer that leads to what follows.)

In this case, the malware is believed to be called "Anubis II" and likely uses the "Builder" that is depicted in this YouTube video, titled "Builder Android Bot Anubis 2"

Launcher the APK Builder "Android Botnet Anubis II" 

Malware actor chooses from his list of banking targets
In the comments section of the video, someone has shared a screen shot of the botmaster's control panel.  In this case it is demonstrating that 619 Android phones can be controlled from the botnet:

Phones that can be controlled from Anubis II control panel
In the particular instance referred to by Lukas and NullCookies, the malware seems to have been active primarily in June of 2018.   The server hosting the Anubis II panel has a list of banks that it can present.

The targets which have custom web inject (or phone inject) content include:
  • 7 Austrian banks
  • 18 Australian banks
  • 5 Canadian banks
  • 6 Czech banks
  • 11 German banks
  • 11 Spanish banks
  • 11 French banks
  • 8 Hong Kong banks
  • 11 Indian banks
  • 6 Japanese banks
  • 1 Kenyan bank
  • 4 New Zealand banks
  • 32 Polish banks
  • 4 Romanian banks
  • 9 Turkish banks
  • 10 UK banks (Bank of Scotland, Barclays, CSGCSDNMB, Halifax, HSBC, Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, TSB, Ulster)
  • 10 US banks (Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Fifth Third, NetTeller, Skrill, SunTrust, USAA, US Bank, Wells Fargo Mobile)

Fake Android Login Pages for Banks 

While each of the 190 sites has a fake login page available, we thought we would show a sampling from banks around the world . . . 

There are also several Crypto Currency organizations listed:
  • blockchaine
  • coinbase
  • localbitcoin
  • unocoin
As well as some Online Payment, Email, and Social Media sites:
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Gmail
  • PayPal
  • ZebPay

Each bank on the list has the equivalent of a phishing page that can be presented if the owner of the android phone attempts to log in to the given bank.

 Some of them have silly typographical errors that will hopefully reduce success, such as this Wells Fargo content, inviting the phone owner to "Sing In" to the bank.  Perhaps there is a Wells Fargo Choir?  Hopefully that will cause victims to NOT fall for this particular malware!

The Wells Fargo Choir?  Sing On!


The SMS Intercepts

One of the main benefits of having access to the server was to see so many examples of successful SMS message intercepts!  At the time of the server dump, this one contained 32,900+ unique "keylog" entries and 52,000+ logged SMS messages from at least 47 unique devices.

Here's an example showing a Bank Two Factor Authentication request being forward to the criminals:

Text: Bank of Redacted: 819881 is your authorization code which expires in 10 minutes. If you didn't request the code, call 1.800.xxx.xxxx for assistance.

Keylogging was also enabled, allowing the criminal to see when a bank app was being used:

06/14/2018, 09:07:34 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[From:, REDACTED BANK, Account Number:, ******6680, Date:, May 30, 2018 10:10:42 AM EDT, Status:, Canceled, Amount:, $100.00, Type:, Deposit, Transfer ID:, 25098675]

In this example, an online payment company is sharing a message:

06/29/2018, 15:28:46 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Friendly reminderThis is Mr. XXXXXXX from REDACTED. This is a friendly reminder that you have a payment due today by 6pm If you have any questions or need to make a payment  via phone call 804-999-9999 or we have a new payment processing system that allows , for your convenience, to simply text in the last 4 digits of a card you've previously used and the security code and we're able to process your payment.  Feel free to call  REDACTED with any questions at 804-xxx-xxxx]

Hundreds of Gmail verification codes were found in the logs:

06/14/2018, 00:19:33 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[G-473953 is your Google verification code., 1 min ago]

Quite a few Uber codes were also found in the logs:

Text: [#] 9299 is your Uber code. qlRnn4A1sbt

Paypal, Quickbooks, LinkedIn, Facebook, Stash, and Stripe all had 2FA codes make appearances in the logs:

Text: FREE PayPal: Your security code is: 321842. Your code expires in 10 minutes. Please don't reply.

Text: [Your QuickBooks Self-Employed Code is 952708, 1 min ago]

Text: 383626 is your Facebook password reset code or reset your password here: https://fb.com/l/9wBUVuGxxxx5zC

Text: Your LinkedIn verification code is 967308.

Text: 103-667 is your Stripe verification code to use your payment info with Theresa.

Text: Your Stash verification code is 912037. Happy Stashing!

Text: Cash App: 157-578 is the sign in code you requested.

Text: Your verification code for GotHookup is: 7074

In a directory called "/numers/" there were also examples of address book dumps from phone contacts.  The small number of these seem to indicate this would be a "triggered" request, where the botnet operator would have to request the address book.  In the example we found, with seven area code (404) numbers, four (770) numbers and four (678) numbers, it is likely an Atlanta, Georgia based victim.

The Keylogging feature also seems to be something that is turned on or off by request of the botnet operators.  There were far fewer devices for which keylogs were found.   Example keylog entries looked like this:

A telephone prompt looked like this:


  • 06/15/2018, 14:38:55 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Call management, •, 10m, 4 missed calls, Ashley Brown (3), Mom]
  • 06/15/2018, 14:38:59 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Call Ashley Big Cousin, Quick contact for Ashley Brown]
  • 06/15/2018, 14:39:01 EDT|(CLICKED)|[1 804-999-9999, Mobile, Call Ashley Brown]


Responding to a message looked like this:


  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:34 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Messaging, •, now, Expand button, (804) 999-9999 , Hey Terry can you send the address, REPLY]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:37 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[Aa]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:46 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Copy, Forward, Delete]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:50 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:54 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Messaging]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:02:57 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Enter message]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:05:11 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Answer]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:05:29 EDT|(CLICKED)|[]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:10:50 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:10:52 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Enter]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:11:01 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[2007 Their Address Ct  North CityTheyTyped OK 11111]
  • 06/15/2018, 16:11:03 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[]
A YouTube session looked like this:


  • 06/27/2018, 15:23:36 EDT|(CLICKED)|[YouTube]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:23:46 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Pause video]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:41:19 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[14:46, Go to channel, FINDING OUT THE GENDER!!!, Menu, The Rush Fam · 26K views4 hours ago, 6:12, Go to channel, TRY NOT TO CRY CHALLENGE REACTION WITH KID (SHE ACTUALLY CRIED), Menu, CJ SO COOL · 2.5M views · 1 year ago, SUBSCRIBED]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:46:38 EDT|(FOCUSED)|[]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:46:41 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Enter]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:46:53 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Play video]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:48:06 EDT|(CLICKED)|[ · 0:11]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:48:09 EDT|(CLICKED)|[ · 0:09]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:48:10 EDT|(CLICKED)|[ · 0:08]
  • 06/27/2018, 15:54:30 EDT|(CLICKED)|[Suggested: "BREAKING UP IN FRONT OF COMPANY!!" PRANK ON PANTON SQUAD!!!]

Distribution 

From looking for this malware in various collections, such as Virus Total Intelligence, it seems that the malware is fairly common.  Many new versions of the malware show up in their collection every day.   The most common point of distribution seems to be from the Google Play Store.

A popularly reported stream of such apps was reported on by, well, just about everyone in July 2018.  Some of the headlines included:

Anubis Strikes Again: Mobile Malware continues to plague users in Official App Stores  - from IBM X-Force Research's Security Intelligence blog

Best graphic goes to Secure Computing Magazine:

https://www.scmagazine.com/


A more recent post, from AlienVault, (20 days ago):  "Anubis Android Malware in the Play Store

A search in VirusTotal Intelligence reveals 62 new filehashes ONLY FROM TODAY (September 10, 2018) that match a definition name of "Anubis".  Some of the more popular names for the trojan on VirusTotal include:

DrWeb:  Android.BankBot.1679
Ikarus: Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Anubis
Kaspersky: HEUR:Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Hqwar.bbSophos: Andr/BankSpy-AH 




Kaspersky authored a special article on this banking trojan, which they call "HQWar" back in April under the headline "Phantom menace: mobile banking trojan modifications reach all-time high: Mobile banking Trojans hit the list of cyber-headaches in Q2 2018"   In that article they said they have documented 61,000 versions! 

Kaspersky: Phantom Menace
As I mentioned Lukas at the beginning of this blog, ESET has produced an amazing number of articles on Android banking trojans lurking in the Google Play store.  Here are a few of them:

Multisandbox project welcomes Cyber adAPT ApkRecon


Two weeks ago we announced the release of our new VirusTotal Droidy Android sandbox, a virtual environment that executes Android applications in an automated fashion in order to capture all the actions that the given app performs on the operating system.

Today we are excited to announce that Cyber adAPT is becoming a multisandbox project partner and will be contributing data from its ApkRecon product to the fight against malware. Like Droidy, its solution also focuses on the Android environment. In their own words:

ApkRecon is a sandbox environment developed by the research team at Cyber adAPT.  Amongst many features, the sandbox boasts a baited Android environment, a decrypted network application level capture, and an attack payload triggering system to gain insight into the true intent of each piece of analyzed malware. ApkRecon is also used to generate detection logic for Cyber adAPT’s Mobile Threat Detection product to keep users safe all around the world.

These are some example reports displaying the data contributed by Cyber adAPT:


It is worth highlighting the usefulness of this kind of data. When facing unknown files for which you have no context it can be very rich contextual information that allows analysts to have an initial judgement of the file before diving into dissecting it. For example, looking at the last example report above we notice that the file performs an HTTP POST to:

hxxp://85.206.166.7/index.php?action=command

This is a URL that we can look up in VirusTotal Graph and jump to the host referenced in the URL, i.e. 85.206.166.7. When exploring this host we notice that only the file under consideration has communicated with it, however, we do notice that expansions are available according to the referrer files relationship. This relationship pinpoints files that contain the given host within its body, even if they have not been seen communicating with it. Let’s follow this notion, something shady seems to be going on:


Badness is much easier to spot when studying the sample characterised in this other report:

In this case the APK reaches out to the URL:

hxxp://zzwx.ru/apkfff?keyword=BBM

From there we can jump to the domain entity, i.e. zzwx.ru, and expand URLs observed under such domain, as well as files communicating with it. Just two hops and we already have a preliminary idea about the initial APK that reached out to the aforementioned URL being malicious:


These examples highlight the importance of extracting as many attributes and behavioral details as possible from files, not only because they allow us to better understand a particular threat, but because they connect the dots and reveal entire campaigns. For instance, very often blocking a given network location will render ineffective all malware variants of a given campaign (inability to reach the mothership server), so even when certain variants fly under detection radars, there is still hope that network security measures will stop a given attack.

This kind of approach to block badness is something that we have shaped into a particular paper hosted in our www.virustotal.com/learn space, more specifically the paper entitled VirusTotal Intelligence for banking trojans. In this paper malicious network infrastructure is shut down by contacting the pertinent domain registrars and hosting providers, however, organizations can also blacklist these locations in their network security controls.

Meet VirusTotal Droidy, our new Android sandbox

Recently we called out Additional crispinness on the MacOS box of apples sandbox, continuing with our effort to improve our malware behavior analysis infrastructure we are happy to announce the deployment of a new Android sandbox that replaces the existing system that was developed back in 2013.

This setup characterises the actions that Android APKs perform when installed and opened; it has been baptised as “VirusTotal Droidy”. Droidy has been integrated in the context of the multisandbox project and extracts juicy details such as:
  • Network communications and SMS-related activity. 
  • Java reflection calls. 
  • Filesystem interactions. 
  • SQLite database usage. 
  • Services started, stopped, etc. 
  • Permissions checked. 
  • Registered receivers. 
  • Crypto-related activity. 
  • Etc. 

You may find below a couple of reports showcasing this new functionality. Just select the “VirusTotal Droidy” entry in the multisandbox report selector (whenever there are multiple reports):

Don’t forget to also check the detailed report:


This advanced view allows you to dig into the hooked calls and take a look at the screenshots generated when running the apps:


The multisandbox project is in good shape, and now many samples have reports for multiple sandboxes. For instance, the following report allows you to see the output of Tencent HABO and VirusTotal Droidy:
As you can see, they are pretty complementary, proving the value of having different sandboxing technologies studying the same files.

To understand the extent to which this is an improvement with respect to the 2013 setup, you can take a look at the following report. It displays by default the output of the old sandbox. Use the selector to see the new report with VirusTotal Droidy:

Now, these may seem like minimal features to improve VirusTotal’s “microscope” capabilities for better understanding a particular threat. In fact, the changes go much deeper. All of our sandboxing information nurtures other services such as VirusTotal Intelligence and VirusTotal Graph. The richer the information that we generate for individual data set items, the greater the telescopic capabilities of VirusTotal. This is how we manage to fill in the dots and quickly see all activity tied to certain resources that often show up in malware investigations. For example, let us look at the graph of one of the domains seen in the previous reports:


At a glance you can understand that something shady is going on with wonderf00l.gq and you are able to discover other malicious domains such as flashinglight.tk, checkingupd.tk, flashupdservice.cf, etc. Some of these, for instance checkolimpupd.tk, are not only used as C2 infrastructure for malware but also serve as malware distribution points.

Very often during an investigation, you might not have enough context about an individual threat, and so being able to look at the connected URLs, domains, files, IP addresses, etc. becomes crucial in understanding what is going on. My colleague Evan explains this far better than I can do in just a couple of paragraphs, so make sure you check out his video dissecting a cryptomining attack at https://www.virustotal.com/learn/watch/.

Wrapping up, don’t think of this as just new functionality to dissect individual threats. All of this data contributes to the bigger picture and increases the power of our telescope lens that sheds light into malicious behaviors on the Internet.