In early December, we found a total of 36 apps on Google Play that executed unwanted behavior. These apps posed as useful security tools under the names Security Defender, Security Keeper, Smart Security, Advanced Boost, and more. They also advertised a variety of capabilities: scanning, cleaning junk, saving battery, cooling the CPU, locking apps, as well as message security, WiFi security, and so on. The apps were actually able to perform these simple tasks, but they also secretly harvested user data, tracked user location, and aggressively pushed advertisements.Read More
Android’s regular security update for December 2017 included a fix for a serious vulnerability that could allow attackers to modify installed apps without affecting their signature. This would allow an attacker to gain access to the affected device (indirectly). First found by researchers in July, this vulnerability (designated as CVE-2017-13156, and also called the Janus vulnerability) affects versions of Android from 5.1.1 to 8.0; approximately 74% of all Android devices have these versions installed.Read More
Android malware like ransomware exemplify how the platform can be lucrative for cybercriminals. But there are also other threats stirring up as of late: attacks that spy on and steal data from specific targets, crossing over between desktops and mobile devices.
Take for instance several malicious apps we came across with cyberespionage capabilities, which were targeting Arabic-speaking users or Middle Eastern countries. These were published on Google Play — but have since been taken down — and third-party app marketplaces. We named these malicious apps AnubisSpy (ANDROIDOS_ANUBISSPY) as all the malware’s payload is a package called watchdog.
We construe AnubisSpy to be linked to the cyberespionage campaign Sphinx (APT-C-15) based on shared file structures and command-and-control (C&C) server as well as targets. It’s also possible that while AnubisSpy’s operators may also be Sphinx’s, they could be running separate but similar campaigns.Read More
Earlier this year researchers first disclosed a targeted attack campaign targeting various sectors in the Middle East. This threat actor was called Two-tailed Scorpion/APT-C-23. Later on, a mobile component called VAMP was found, with a new variant (dubbed FrozenCell) discovered in October.Read More