Android botnet stole SMSes from South Korea, emailed them to China

Security vendor FireEye said it discovered the botnet and is working with Korean law enforcement

An Android botnet found in South Korea that steals text messages may be one of the largest and most advanced mobile malware operations discovered, according to security vendor FireEye.

The botnet, which FireEye called "MisoSMS," was used in 64 spyware campaigns, stealing text messages from phones in Korea and forwarding them to email accounts accessed by hackers in both China and South Korea.

MisoSMS is embedded in an Android application that purports to be an administrative settings tool, FireEye wrote on its blog. The application calls itself "Google Vx" and asks for administrative permissions that, if granted, allow the malware to hide.

It then collects text messages and sends them by email to the attackers, which is a new technique, FireEye wrote. Some SMS malware applications forward text messages to hackers' phones via SMS, while others send messages via TCP connections.

More than 450 web email accounts were used to control the malware. "The attackers logged in from Korea and mainland China, among other locations, to periodically read the stolen SMS messages," FireEye analysts wrote.

The email accounts used in connection with MisoSMS have been deactivated, and the attackers have not since registered any new email addresses. FireEye wrote on its blog it is working with Korean law enforcement and the Chinese web mail provider whose accounts were used by the hackers.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Android OSsecurityFireEyemalware

More about FireEyeGoogle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

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