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Friday, April 25, 2014

Abney Associates Tech Blog , Android users targeted by iBanking trojan app on Facebook

Cybercriminals have started using a sophisticated Android Trojan app designed for e-banking fraud to target Facebook users, possibly in an attempt to bypass the two-factor authentication protection on the social network.

Security researchers from antivirus vendor ESET have identified a new variant of a computer banking Trojan called Qadars that injects rogue JavaScript code into Facebook pages when opened in a browser from an infected system. The injected code generates a message instructing users to download and install Android malware that can steal authentication codes sent to their phones via SMS.

These man-in-the-browser attacks are known as webinjects and have long been used by computer Trojans to display rogue Web forms on online banking websites with the goal of collecting log-in credentials and other sensitive financial information from users.

Webinjects are also commonly used to display messages that instruct users to download and install malicious applications on their mobile phones by presenting them as security apps required by financial institutions. In reality those rogue mobile apps are designed to steal mobile transaction authorisation numbers (mTANs) and other one-time passwords sent by banks via SMS.

In February security researchers from RSA, the security division of EMC, reported that the source code for an advanced Android Trojan called iBanking was released on an underground forum and warned that this development will allow more cybercriminals to incorporate this mobile threat in their future operations.

Once installed on an Android phone, iBanking can capture incoming and outgoing text messages; can redirect calls to a pre-defined phone number; can capture audio from the surrounding environment using the device’s microphone and can steal the call history log and the phone book.

The authors of the Qadars computer Trojan were quick to adopt iBanking, according to a new report by researchers from ESET, but instead of using it against online banking users they appear to be targeting accounts on Facebook.

This alleged protection system is presented as a mobile application that generates unique authentication codes that can be used instead of regular passwords. In order to obtain the application, users are asked to specify the OS of their mobile phone and their phone number. They are then directed to a page with a download link and a corresponding QR code.

The application being offered to Android device owners is a version of the iBanking Trojan app that has been modified to look as a Facebook application for generating one-time passwords. During installation, users are instructed to enable the Android setting allowing the installation of apps obtained from unknown sources and are asked to give the app device administrator permissions.

“The way iBanking is installed on the user’s mobile is quite common, but it is the first time we have seen such a mobile application targeting Facebook users for account fraud,” ESET malware researcher Jean-Ian Boutin said in a blog post.

“It’s possible that the attackers are using iBanking to steal security codes sent via SMS by Facebook’s legitimate two-factor authentication system. It may be that there’s a growing number of people using this protection feature on Facebook, making accounts harder to compromise through traditional credential theft attacks,” added Boutin.

However, it’s also possible that attackers have chosen to use webinjects on Facebook because it’s an efficient way to distribute the malware to a lot of users without worrying which particular banking sites they regularly interact with.


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