Banking Malware as Document Scanners

Users’ devices have been compromised by banking malware via a malicious campaign uncovered by Trend Micro exploiting the Google Play Store’s Android apps.

17 Android dropper apps that appear to be harmless have been used as part of this malicious campaign by the threat actors. The cybersecurity analysts have tracked all of these applications together as DawDropper.

All these applications are masqueraded as the following type of apps:-

  • Document scanners
  • VPN services
  • QR code readers
  • Call recorders

The app marketplace, however, has removed all of these apps from its lists and has not yet added them back.

Malicious Apps 

To evade detection and obtain a payload download address dynamically, DAWDropper relies on a third-party cloud service called Firebase Realtime Database.

In the DawDropper app, security checks are bypassed to allow more powerful and invasive malware to be downloaded on a device without being detected by the Google Play Store.

In the following list, you will find a variety of malicious applications that were previously available on the app store and have been removed now:-

Here below we have mentioned all the malware downloaded by these apps:-

  • Octo (Coper)
  • Hydra
  • Ermac
  • TeaBot

Technical Analysis

A second dropper was also found by Trend Micro, identified as Clast82, which was uncovered in March 2021. Clast82 and DawDropper, both of which operate as C&C servers, use Firebase Realtime Databases to make their operations as seamless as possible.

As far as distribution and installation are concerned, the banking droppers use their own methods. Earlier this year, the banking droppers that were made available have hard-coded download addresses for payloads.

To become undetectable and infect a wider range of devices, threat actors are constantly evolving their techniques. In order to distribute mobile malware in a more effective way, novel methods need to be developed.

Recommendations

Throughout the future, it is expected that even more banking trojans will be distributed to consumers through digital distribution services and this trend will continue.

There are a number of security practices that users should adopt in order to avoid falling victim to malicious apps:-

  • You should always check the reviews of apps before downloading them.
  • When it comes to checking out app developers and publishers, be persistent in your search. 
  • Make sure that you don’t download apps from websites that look suspicious.
  • Make sure that you don’t install apps from a source that you are not familiar with.

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