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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Faux Android and iOS apps steal SMS and contacts in South Korea

Authored by Dexter Shin

Most individuals have smartphones lately which can be utilized to simply seek for numerous matters of curiosity on the Web. These matters could possibly be about enhancing their privateness, staying match with actions like Pilates or yoga, and even discovering new folks to speak to. So, corporations create cell functions to make it extra handy for customers and promote these apps on their web sites. However is it secure to obtain these marketed functions by web site searches?

McAfee Cell Analysis Group not too long ago noticed a malicious Android and iOS info stealer utility delivered by way of phishing websites. This malware grew to become lively in early October and has been noticed put in on greater than 200 gadgets, in response to McAfee’s telemetry. All of those gadgets are situated in South Korea. Contemplating that every one the distribution phishing websites are lively on the time of penning this weblog publish, it’s anticipated that the variety of affected gadgets will proceed to extend.

The malware creator selects a service that individuals may discover attention-grabbing and attracts victims by disguising their service. In addition they create phishing websites that use the assets of reliable websites, making them seem equivalent and tricking customers into pondering that they’re the official web site of the applying they wish to set up. The phishing web site additionally supplies Android and iOS variations of the malicious utility. When customers ultimately obtain and run the app by this phishing web site, their contact info and SMS messages are despatched to the malware creator. McAfee Cell Safety detects this menace as Android/SpyAgent. For extra info, go to McAfee Cell Safety.

Easy methods to distribute
We not too long ago launched SpyNote by a phishing marketing campaign concentrating on Japan. After we discovered this malware and confirmed that it was concentrating on South Korea, we suspected it was additionally distributed by a phishing marketing campaign. So we researched a number of communities in Korea. One in all them, known as Arca Stay, we have been in a position to affirm their precise distribution technique.

They initially method victims by way of SMS message. At this stage, the scammers fake to be ladies and ship seductive messages with images. After a little bit of dialog, they attempt to transfer the stage to LINE messenger. After transferring to LINE Messenger, the scammer turns into extra aggressive. They ship victims a hyperlink to make a video name and stated that it ought to solely be completed utilizing an app that stops seize. That hyperlink is a phishing web site the place malicious apps might be downloaded.

Determine 1. Distribute phishing websites from LINE messenger after transferring from SMS (Pink textual content: Scammer, Blue textual content: Sufferer)

What do phishing websites do

One of many phishing websites disguises as Camtalk, a reliable social networking app accessible on the Google Play Retailer and Apple App Retailer, to trick customers into downloading malicious Android and iOS functions from distant servers. It makes use of the identical textual content, format, and buttons because the reliable Camtalk web site, however as an alternative of redirecting customers to the official app retailer, it forces them to obtain the malicious utility straight:

Determine 2. Comparability of reliable web site (Left) and phishing web site (Proper)

Along with pretending to be a social networking app, malware authors behind this marketing campaign additionally use different totally different themes of their phishing websites. For instance, the app in first image under provides cloud-based storage for images and expanded features, and a default album app which has the power to guard desired albums by setting a password. And the apps within the second and third photos are for yoga and health, attractive customers with matters that may be simply searched close by. The vital level is generally most of these apps don’t require permission to entry SMS and contacts.

Determine 3. Many phishing websites in numerous fields

All phishing websites we discovered are hosted on the identical IP deal with and so they encourage customers to obtain the app by clicking on the Google Play icon or the App Retailer icon.

Determine 4. Stream for downloading malicious app information

When customers click on the app retailer button, their gadgets start downloading the kind of file (Android APK or iOS IPA) applicable for every machine from a distant server moderately than the official app retailer. After which gadgets ask customers to put in it.

Determine 5. The method of app set up on Android

Determine 6. The method of app set up on iOS

Easy methods to signal iOS malware

iOS has extra restrictive insurance policies relating to sideloading in comparison with Android. On iOS gadgets, if an app just isn’t signed with a reliable developer’s signature or certificates, it should be manually allowed. This is applicable when trying to put in apps on iOS gadgets from sources apart from the official app retailer. So, further steps are required for an app to be put in.

Determine 7. Have to confirm developer certificates on iOS

Nonetheless, this iOS malware makes an attempt to bypass this course of utilizing distinctive strategies. Some iPhone customers wish to obtain apps by third social gathering shops moderately than Apple App Retailer. There are lots of kinds of shops and instruments on the Web, however considered one of them is known as Scarlet. The shop shares enterprise certificates, making it straightforward for builders or crackers who wish to use the shop to share their apps with customers. In different phrases, since customers have already set the certificates to ‘Belief’ when putting in the app known as Scarlet, different apps utilizing the identical certificates put in afterward might be robotically verified.

Determine 8. App robotically verified after set up of third social gathering retailer

Their enterprise certificates might be simply downloaded by normal customers as properly.

Determine 9. Enterprise certificates shared by way of messenger

The iOS malware is utilizing these certificates. So, for gadgets that have already got the certificates trusted utilizing Scarlet, no further steps are required to execute this malware. As soon as put in, the app might be run at any time.

Determine 10. Automated verification and executable app

What do they need

These apps all have the identical code, simply the applying identify and icon are totally different. In case of Android, they require permissions to learn your contacts and SMS.

Determine 11. Malicious app required delicate permissions (Android)

In getDeviceInfo() perform, android_id and the sufferer machine’s cellphone quantity are despatched to the C2 server for the aim of figuring out every machine. Subsequently, within the following perform, the entire consumer’s contact info and SMS messages are despatched to the C2 server.

Determine 12. Delicate information stolen by malware (Android)

And in case of iOS, they solely require permission to learn your contacts. And it requires the consumer to enter their cellphone quantity to enter the chat room. After all, that is completed to establish the sufferer on the C2 server.


Determine 13. Malicious app required delicate permissions (iOS)

Equally to Android, there may be code inside iOS that collects contact info and the information is shipped to the C2 server.

Determine 14. Delicate information stolen by malware (iOS)

The main focus of this ongoing marketing campaign is concentrating on South Korea and there are 10 phishing websites found thus far. This marketing campaign can probably be used for different malicious functions because it steals the sufferer’s cellphone quantity, related contacts, and SMS messages. So, customers ought to take into account all potential threats associated to this, as the information focused by the malware creator is obvious, and adjustments might be made to the recognized features thus far.

Customers ought to stay cautious, even when they imagine they’re on an official web site. If the app set up doesn’t happen by Google Play Retailer or Apple App Retailer, suspicion is warranted. Moreover, customers ought to at all times confirm when the app requests permissions that appear unrelated to its meant objective. As a result of it’s tough for customers to actively cope with all these threats, we strongly suggest that customers ought to set up safety software program on their gadgets and at all times maintain updated. Through the use of McAfee Cell Safety merchandise, customers can additional safeguard their gadgets and mitigate the dangers linked with these sorts of malware, offering a safer and safer expertise.

Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

Indicators Indicator Sort Description
hxxps://jinyoga[.]store/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://mysecret-album[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://pilatesyoaa[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://sweetchat19[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://sweetchat23[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://telegraming[.]professional/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://dl.yoga-jin[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://aromyoga[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://swim-talk[.]com/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://spykorea[.]store/ URL Phishing web site
hxxps://api.sweetchat23[.]com/ URL C2 server
hxxps://somaonvip[.]com/ URL C2 server
ed0166fad985d252ae9c92377d6a85025e9b49cafdc06d652107e55dd137f3b2 SHA256 Android APK
2b62d3c5f552d32265aa4fb87392292474a1c3cd7f7c10fa24fb5d486f9f7665 SHA256 Android APK
4bc1b594f4e6702088cbfd035c4331a52ff22b48295a1dd130b0c0a6d41636c9 SHA256 Android APK
bb614273d75b1709e62ce764d026c287aad1fdb1b5c35d18b45324c32e666e19 SHA256 Android APK
97856de8b869999bf7a2d08910721b3508294521bc5766a9dd28d91f479eeb2e SHA256 iOS IPA
fcad6f5c29913c6ab84b0bc48c98a0b91a199ba29cbfc5becced105bb9acefd6 SHA256 iOS IPA
04721303e090160c92625c7f2504115559a124c6deb358f30ae1f43499b6ba3b SHA256 iOS Mach-O Binary
5ccd397ee38db0f7013c52f68a4f7d6a279e95bb611c71e3e2bd9b769c5a700c SHA256 iOS Mach-O Binary



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