Security expert identifies targeted attack utilizing malware for Android devices

Kaspersky Lab has detected a new targeted attack against Uyghur activists which, for the first time, is based on a malicious program for Android-based mobile devices.

The attack is designed and performed in a similar manner as numerous other attacks on Uyghur and Tibetan activists, but instead of relying on exploit-rigged DOC, XLS or PDF documents for Windows-based computers or Macs, it targets mobile devices.

The Android malware used in the new attack steals private data from infected smartphones, including the address book and messaging history, and sends it to a command and control server.

This attack is believed to be the first of this kind utilizing fully functional Android malware and specifically targeting mobile devices of potential victims.

The attack took place at the end of March 2013 and started with the hacking of an email account belonging to a high-profile Tibetan activist. The attackers used this account to send 'spear-phishing' emails to his contact list.

The malicious messages targeted Mongolian, Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur political activists, and had attached an .APK file containing a malicious program for Android devices.

Investigation of this malware performed by Kaspersky Lab's experts revealed that it was most likely designed by Chinese-speaking authors, judging by comments in the code and certain characteristics of the command and control server.

Costin Raiu, Director, Global Research & Analysis Team said, "Until now we have not seen targeted attacks against mobile devices in the wild, although there were signs that attackers were interested and experimenting in this field."

He also said "This particular attack utilizes a fully featured Trojan aimed at stealing private data from a targeted group of victims. The attackers have so far used social engineering to trick the victims into installing the app. However, we believe that in the future such attacks will exploit vulnerabilities in mobile software, or a combination of techniques."

Kaspersky Lab's protection solutions for Android-based mobile devices -- Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security -- detect and block the malware used in this targeted attack as Backdoor.AndroidOS.Chuli.a.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitymobile securitykaspersky lab

More about KasperskyKasperskyMacs

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Computerworld Philippines staff

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts