New Xenomorph Android malware targets more than 50 banking and financial applications

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Some banking malware targets cellular gadgets and might shortly steal cash from banking accounts. Meet Xenomorph, a brand new malware focusing on Android and greater than 50 banking and monetary purposes.

Picture: iStockphoto/solarseven
In September 2020, ThreatFabric uncovered an Android-based mobile malware dubbed “Alien” that had hanging capabilities, resembling offering distant entry to attackers, controlling SMS messages, stealing notifications, putting in or eradicating apps, and accumulating knowledge in regards to the cellphone it has contaminated.
SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
That malware has been up to date since, and now supplies banking trojan capabilities to the cybercriminals controlling it as reported by ThreatFabric. The new malware is dubbed Xenomorph.

From Alien to Xenomorph

Should-read safety protection

A number of gadgets have led the ThreatFabric researchers to imagine that the Xenomorph malware is an evolution from Alien.
The primary clue is that the identical HTML web page is used to trick victims into granting Accessibility Companies privileges, but it has been utilized by many different households.
Extra intriguing, researchers point out that “the model of variable naming utilized by Xenomorph could be very paying homage to Alien, regardless of being doubtlessly much more detailed,” and that “the precise identify of the shared Preferences file used to retailer the configuration for Xenomorph: the file is known as ring0.xml”.
As a matter of reality, ring0 is the nickname of the developer of the unique Alien malware (Determine A).
Determine A
Picture: ThreatFabric. A put up from nickname ring0 on a cybercrime discussion board and the reference within the code.
Moreover, a number of specific strings and sophistication names are seen in each the Alien and the Xenomorph code (Determine B).
Determine B
Picture: ThreatFabric. Similar logging strings within the code of Alien and Xenomorph.
The Alien malware has extra total capabilities than Xenomorph, which is much extra focused at stealing banking info.
One may assume that the developer of Alien determined to create a extra particular malware that might concentrate on monetary theft solely.

Xenomorph infections

Whereas Google deploys efforts to sort out malware on its Play Retailer, cybercriminals nonetheless discover methods to bypass it and have their malware distributed that manner.
One software from the Play Retailer, dubbed “Quick Cleaner” whose described function could be to hurry up the machine, has dropper capabilities: It downloads, drops and executes malicious content material (Determine C).
Determine C
Picture: ThreatFabric. The Quick Cleaner software which downloads and installs Xenomorph within the background.
In keeping with the researchers, the Quick Cleaner app has downloaded and put in a number of completely different malwares previously, ExobotCompact.D and Alien.A malware households. However then, it began additionally downloading and putting in Xenomorph.

Xenomorph capabilities

Xenomorph is ready to deploy overlay assaults, which consists of inserting a window on high of a reliable software, to ask the consumer for credentials.
The malware additionally has the flexibility to intercept notifications, deal with SMS and due to this fact bypass SMS two-factor authentication.
As a typical functionality inside malware, Xenomorph is ready to replace itself or its command-and-control server reference.
The banking trojan can also be developed with a really modular mannequin: It’s simple so as to add new capabilities to it. As a matter of reality, extra capabilities are already carried out within the code, however not but used: Intensive logging capabilities could be used sooner or later and permit the malware to gather much more info on the utilization of the machine and its consumer.

The overlay assault

As instructed, Xenomorph has the flexibility to deploy overlay assaults.
So as to obtain the overlay assault, Xenomorph’s code incorporates an inventory of banking or monetary purposes that may set off the overlay display screen from the malware. That display screen will ask the consumer for its knowledge. A non-cautious consumer would possibly then present the attackers along with his or her credentials (Determine D) or bank card info.
Determine D
Picture: ThreatFabric. Overlay assault display screen from Xenomorph asking the consumer for his or her bank card info.

Xenomorphs targets

The checklist of overlay targets returned by the banking trojan consists of targets from Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal, but additionally cryptocurrency wallets and e-mail companies (Determine E).
Determine E
Picture: ThreatFabric. Focused purposes.
A full list of the targeted applications has been supplied by the researchers within the report.

Find out how to defend your self from Xenomorph

To guard from Xenomorph in addition to different cellular malware, a number of actions will be taken:

Keep away from unknown shops. Unknown shops usually haven’t any malware detection processes, not like the Google Play Retailer. Don’t set up software program in your Android machine that comes from untrusted sources.
It’s not the case for Xenomorph however could be helpful to guard in opposition to different cellular malware: reboot usually. Some high-stealth malware doesn’t have persistent mechanisms, so as to keep undetected, so rebooting usually would possibly clear your machine of that risk.
Fastidiously examine requested permissions when putting in an app. Functions ought to solely request permissions for needed APIs. Earlier than putting in an software from the Google Play Retailer, scroll down on the app description and click on on App Permissions to examine what it requests. Customers ought to be additional cautious when an software asks for permission to deal with SMS. For instance, a cleansing app ought to undoubtedly not ask for this privilege, which can be utilized for banking Trojans like Xenomorph to bypass 2FA that makes use of SMS.
Notice that fast requests for replace after set up are suspicious. An software that’s downloaded from the Play Retailer is meant to be the newest model. If the app asks for replace permission on the first run, instantly after its set up, it’s suspicious.
Test the context of the applying. Is the applying the primary one from a developer? Has it only a few evaluations, perhaps solely five-star evaluations?
Use safety purposes in your Android machine. Complete safety purposes ought to be put in in your machine to guard it.

Disclosure: I work for Development Micro, however the views expressed on this article are mine.

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