Do you know the notion “machine war”? If you’re a fan of the Matrix movie trilogy then probably, yes. It denotes the fictional rise of artificially intelligent machines against the human race and their violent conquest of human beings. We want to apply a similar dominance of computationally powerful machines, not to create a population of slaves, but against numerous malicious Android packages that wildly proliferate on unofficial markets.
The idea of malware detection with no human interaction appeared earlier on our blog. In a fundamental article about AVAST research activities by AVAST’s COO, Ondřej Vlček, he effectively described the technologies we employ to deal with Windows threats. Two techniques have been mentioned explicitly, Malware Similarity Search and Evo-Gen, both working with Windows PE file format. Sometimes the latter form of detection technique is denoted as weak automated anti-malware heuristic.
The main effort is to reach two slightly conflicting qualities at the same time: The robustness, which means that suggested methods cover as many threats as possible; and simplicity, so that the methods are easily implemented in AVAST’s mobile security solution. The search for balance between those qualities is assisted by lessons learned from automated heuristic for Windows PE executables.
In this blogpost we will look deep into a spam campaign, where unlike other possible scenarios, the victim is infected by opening and running an email attachment. In the beginning of this year, we blogged about a spam campaign with a different spam message – a fake email from the popular WhatsApp messenger. This time we will look at spam email which tries to convince the victim that it originates from his bank. The malicious email contains contents similar to the following one:
Subject: FW: Bank docs
We have received this documents from your bank, please review attached documents.
Does the title of this blog post have a mysterious meaning? Not exactly.
In this first part about the gray-zone of Android malware detections, I will introduce the Android:SecApk, a detection regarding the protection that the App Shield (Bangcle) offers to Android applications (.apk). This detection has a big sample set that is still growing. Some SecApk wrapped samples that existed or still exist in the Google Play Store and third party stores, can be seen in the table below.
Name \ Info
\ PUP – An application to promote a specific movie. Potentially unwanted because of the extended permissions that was requested.
Current Status: Removed from Google Play
\PUP – A game that have potentially unwanted permissions that they can drive to loss of private personal info.
\PUP – A screensaver application that has permissions unrelated with the purpose of the app.
\Pup – This application is a tennis game. Potentially unwanted because of the extended permissions that was requested.
\Malware – This app steal personal data and SMS messages from the user.
The App Shield is an online service that, after a submission of an .apk, encrypts it and adds some layers of protection. The procedure of the encryption and protection of the apk will be discussed with more detail during the course of the second part of this blog post.
Starting with the submission process, a clean app named AvstTest.apk uploaded to the service. The exported .apk was renamed as AvstTest[SecApk].apk. In addition, apktool and dex2jar used accordingly to decode the .apk resources and convert the ‘.dex’ files to ‘.jar’.
Malware which opens pictures of attractive women to entice its victims has been around for some time. Last month there were more than usual, so I decided to research malware that pretends to be a regular picture, and the results are pretty interesting.
We looked for executable samples with two distinct characteristics: 1. .jpg in their name, and 2. no older than the last three months. About 6,000 unique files which matched this criteria were found. From these samples, we noticed that pretending to be an image is not a family specific criteria but we identified that Win32:Zbot is represented more than other malware e.g. MSIL:Bladabindi-EV, Win32:Banker-JXB,BV:Bicololo-CY, etc.
The important message is that most of these samples are distributed by scams which are sent by email or posted on social media sites. An example of an email scam is pictures below. If you are interested in what the social media scam looks like and how to protect yourself, you should read one of our previous blog posts.
Recently, we discovered an account on GitHub, a service for software development projects, that has interesting contents. The account contains several projects; one of the latest ones is called Banks, and it has interesting source codes. The account contains information like user name, photo, and email address, but we cannot tell who the guy in the picture is. He might not be related to the contents at all, it could be a fake picture, fake name, or simply his account may have been hacked, his identity stolen, and the Banks repository created by someone else without his consent. In this blog post, we will explore the source codes in detail.
When we downloaded the repository, we found several directories – GoogleService and fake applications imitating mobile applications of five major Korean banks – NH Bank, Kookmin Bank, Hana Bank, ShinHan Bank and Woori Bank.
We previously published two blog posts with analyses of the above mentioned fake applications.
When we look at GitHub statistics, and Punchcard tab, it tells us what time the creators were most active. From the chart below you can see, that Saturday mornings and evenings and Sunday evenings were the most active times of comments of new versions. It seems that authors of this application do the development as a weekend job. At the time of writing this blogpost, the last update of fake bank applications was in the beginning of January 2014.
This is not the first attack against users of Korean banks. About a year ago, we published this analysis.
Github, the web-based hosting service for software development projects, offers a lot of interesting contents, which depending on its settings can be later found and accessed by virtually anyone, including Google robots. We managed to find the above mentioned repository by simply Googling the strings which occurred in a malicious Android application.
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Official app stores are the primary sources to finding and downloading apps. Experts advise users to stay within the official app stores as they are approved ecosystems, which are widely recognized as safe. But are these sources really trustworthy? Some experts, however, claim that “Android malware is non-existent and security companies just try to scare us. Keep calm and don‘t worry.“ So which is it?
We’ve already blogged about plenty of threats that sneak onto your device from trusted sources, but here we have a really fresh one, one that is still undetected by other security vendors. An Application called Cámara Visión Nocturna (package name: com.loriapps.nightcamera.apk), which is still available in the Google Play Store as I am writing this post, is something you definitely don’t want to have on your Android device.
Starting with the application’s permissions you might notice there are some unusual requests for an app that should be able to work only using your camera.
<uses-permission android:name=”android.permission.CAMERA” />
In February, we looked at the first part of the fake Korean bank application analysis along with Android:Tramp (TRAck My Phone malicious Android application), which uses it. In this blogpost, we will look at another two Android malware families which supposedly utilize the same bunch of fake Korean bank applications. At the end of this article, we will discuss the origin of malware creators.
Analysis of Android:AgentSpy
It is interesting to search for references of bank applications package names – KR_HNBank, KR_KBBank, KR_NHBank, KR_SHBank, KR_WRBank. One reference goes to a malicious application called Android:AgentSpy. The infection vector of this application was described by Symantec, contagio mobile and Alyac. We will not delve into details, we will just mention that the malicious application is pushed to a connected mobile phone via ADB.EXE (Android Debug Bridge). The uploaded malicious file is called AV_cdk.apk.
Android:AgentSpy contains activity MainActivity and several receivers and service CoreService.
Monitors android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED and android.intent.action.USER_PRESENT and if received, starts CoreService. It also monitors attempts to add or remove packages – android.intent.action.PACKAGE_ADDED and android.intent.action.PACKAGE_REMOVED.
1) Calls regularly home and reports available connection types (wifi, net, wap), IMSI, installed bank apps
2) Regularly polls C&C and responds to the following commands
sendsms – sends SMS to a given mobile number
issms – whether to steal received SMS or not
iscall – whether to block outgoing call
contact – steals contact information and upload them to C&C
apps – list of installed bank apps
changeapp – replaces original bank applications with fake bank applications
move – changes C&C server
Moniors new outgoing calls. If android.intent.action.NEW_OUTGOING_CALL is received, information about the outgoing call is sent to C&C.
Contains C&C URL, name of bank packages (String array bank), name of fake bank packages (String array apkNames). It also contains reference to conf.ini configuration file.
Analysis of Android:Telman
One more Android malware family, which uses fake bank applications is called Android:Telman. Similarly to Android:Tramp and Android:AgentSpy, it checks for installed packages of the above mentioned banks. Read more…
About a year ago, we published this analysis about a pharming attack against Korean bank customers. The banks targeted by cybercriminals included NH Bank, Kookmin Bank, Hana Bank, ShinHan Bank, and Woori Bank. With the rise of Android-powered devices, these attacks now occur not only on the Windows platform, but also on the Android platform. In this blogpost we will look at a fake bank application and analyze several malware families which supposedly utilize them.
Original bank application
We will show just one bank application for brevity. For other banks the scenario is similar. The real Hana Bank application can be downloaded from Google Play. It has the following layout and background.
Question of the week: What is the antivirus setting called DeepScreen?
DeepScreen is a new technology inside avast! Antivirus 2014. When you are about to run a suspicious program which is not yet known to the other core antivirus technologies, DeepScreen is invoked. Its task is to simply distinguish between good and bad software. Although it seems obvious and simple, it is not.
How DeepScreen uses The Force for good
This (magic) technology is served by two software components (the Jedi, if you will) which work hand-in-hand. One of them is well known from the past: The avast! Sandbox.
When a file is “DeepScreened,” it is actually run in the Sandbox, which is mainly responsible for keeping things isolated while watching for various high-level events and behavior of the program running. For example, it monitors the system call invocation and overall behavior of the program which is being executed. This seems to be just enough to distinguish between the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force, but unfortunately, it is not that simple.
Firstly, how can you tell good and bad behavior apart? There are plenty of legitimate software products that use “weird” techniques to protect themselves. On the other hand, there is a bunch of malware samples that look innocent and behave well.
Secondly, malware is used to hiding away from the vigilant eyes of the Sandbox. The most common and powerful technique is encryption. In fact, there are more ways of encrypting and packing these well - known bad guys and rendering them undetectable than there are distinct malware samples.
SafeMachine: The new Jedi Order
With the latest version of avast! Antivirus 2014, this technology is fully involved in fighting the bad guys. Whenever DeepScreen runs something in the Sandbox, it also performs binary instrumentation of the process.
Beware of malformed FileZilla FTP client versions 3.7.3 and 3.5.3. We have noticed an increased presence of these malware versions of famous open source FTP clients.
The first suspicious signs are bogus download URLs. As you can see, the installer is mostly hosted on hacked websites with fake content (for example texts and user comments are represented by images.)
Malware installer GUI is almost identical to the official version. The only slight difference is version of NullSoft installer where malware uses 2.46.3-Unicode and the official installer uses v2.45-Unicode. All other elements like texts, buttons, icons and images are the same.
The installed malware FTP client looks like the official version and it is fully functional! You can’t find any suspicious behavior, entries in the system registry, communication or changes in application GUI.
The only differences that can be seen at first glance are smaller filesize of filezilla.exe (~6,8 MB), 2 dll libraries ibgcc_s_dw2-1.dll and libstdc++-6.dll (not included in the official version) and information in “About FileZilla” window indicates the use of older SQLite/GnuTLS versions. Any attempt to update the application fails, which is most likely a protection to prevent overwriting of malware binaries.