Fake Flash tries to phish big 4 Oz bank Android customers and snatch their SMS

Online crooks have served up a special serve of Android banking malware designed to dupe customers of Australia’s big four banks to divulge SMS two-factor authentication codes.

As security experts have long warned, it’s a bad idea for Android users to install apps from anywhere but Google Play, even though they have the option to. New malware targeting Australian online banking customers is a reminder why that’s solid advice.

Security firm ESET has warned that a relatively new threat, which it calls Android/Spy.Agent.SI, has been customised to target customers of Westpac, ANZ, Commbank, and NAB, as well as their New Zealand subsidiaries. The malware also targets credentials for banks in Turkey, one US bank, PayPal and Google.

The Android malware is essentially the same for all targets, but criminals have customised a lock screen to look like the legitimate login pages for each of these banks’ mobile apps.

“If a target application is launched, the malware is triggered and a fake login screen overlays the original mobile banking one, with no option to close it,” ESET notes in its writeup on the Android malware.

The lock screen is an attempt to force victims to provide their banking credentials by preventing them from exiting the fake login page until the credentials are provided.

The malware will also monitor for and capture incoming SMS and re-route it to a server under the attacker’s control. ESET notes that the malware will also remove records of the SMS from the device, likely to avoid raising suspicion.

Australian banks typically don’t require anything more than a customer ID and password to login to an account, however once logged certain transactions — such as international transfers — require authorisation, which is done using a 6-digit code delivered by SMS.

So, with the victim’s credentials already on hand, the attacker could login to the target’s online account, say from a desktop in Eastern Europe, initiate an international transfer and then wait for the SMS code to be sent to the infected Android device.

Read more: Security, privacy dominate businesses' cloud concerns as technical worries fade

The good news is that the malware is not being distributed on Google Play. Instead, victims would need to install a file that purports to be Adobe’s Flash Player media player.

One note here is that Adobe stopped making the real Flash Player for Android a few years ago, so any Android users that do come across a Flash Player update should definitely avoid it. The most recent version of Flash Player for Android supported Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, released in 2011.

CSO Australia has asked ESET for any details on the number of infections in Australia, however the company’s “prevalence map” for the malware suggests it is not widespread.

ESET also doesn’t say which sites users are being directed from to install the fake Flash Player update, for example, a torrent site that requires Flash Player to view the content.

Read more: KeRanger Mac ransomware is a version of Linux ransomware

Nick FitzGerald, senior research fellow at ESET, told CSO Australia the company did not know how many customers have been affected by the malware.

Exactly where banking customers are being encouraged to install the Flash Player is also a mystery but FitzGerald guessed it could be an in-app advertisement or a non-reputable website.

“We have only seen this masquerading as a Flash Player app, and the download locations we know of for these have all been on domains which include “adobe” and/or “flash” and/or “player” (sometimes slightly misspelled) in their names, so presumably some dodgy web ad, in-app ad or website has an enticement such as “Android Flash Player is required to view this video [or webpage, or to play this game]” or “Android Flash Player must be updated to the latest version to […]”, and a click on the link provided there takes the potential victim to the malware download,” said FitzGerald.

Take this 5 minute survey on The State of Cloud Storage & Collaboration 2016 and go in the draw to win a $500 Visa credit card.Start Survey NOW

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlelot internet of thingsAndroidesetflashmalwareCSO Australia

More about CSOESETGoogleNABPayPalVisaWestpac

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

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