Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

News

3/21/2014
06:10 PM
50%
50%

New Android Remote Access Tool Highlights Growing Market For Mobile Spyware

Researchers discuss the growing market for remote access tools used to target Google Android devices

An attack armed with a remote access tool (RAT) for Google Android devices was recently discovered targeting a financial institution.

The so-called WinSpy spy tool, which is sold openly on the Web, was spied by FireEye being used in a phishing attack against an unidentified financial organization in the U.S., with a surprising twist -- it was not just going after Windows users.

Security experts say the widespread adoption of mobile devices has created a new market for remote access tools to target smartphone platforms.

This version of WinSpy featured various spying components for Android that has been dubbed "GimmeRat." The capabilities allow a victim's smartphone to be controlled by either another mobile device via SMS messages or alternatively through a Windows-based controller.

"With the increasing number of mobile devices, it is hard to say what the market is," says FireEye researcher Hitesh Dharmdasani. "But the attention toward these devices is ever-increasing."

The RAT capabilities of WinSpy put it into a category of a growing number of similar tools being used to target Google Android users.

"There is a free Android RAT called AndroRAT that is popular," says Nart Villeneueve, also of FireEye. "While the RAT is free, the binder [AndroBinder] is $43. There was another Android RAT known as Dendroid that was advertised on forums for $300, but does not seem to be available anymore. The author of Dendroid is reportedly working on a new Android RAT. There is another RAT known as Unrecom RAT -- previously known as Adwind RAT -- that has Android capabilities. It sells for $200 to $500."

These tools, he says, are being marketed on underground forums. There are a variety of tutorials that explain how to use them, and, judging by the responses on the forums, there appears to be considerable demand, he says.

Grayson Milbourne, director of security intelligence for Webroot, notes that there has been an increase in RATs just like there has been in every other category of malicious Android apps.

"One thing to consider," he says, "is that many of these apps are sold under the category of ‘tracking’ apps, such as track your kids, or track your spouse. In any event, these apps provide access to what’s on the device, such as SMS/phone history, GPS tracking, browser history, etc. -- and while they mostly do not offer direct control over the device, being able to record all data from the device is sufficient for compromise."

Overall, there has been a maturing of cybercrime-as-a-service offerings for mobile devices during the past two years, says Milbourne.

"Services range from malicious app creation, app binding, app market placement, trusted developer credentials, botnet hosting, SMS phishing/flooding, and telephony-based services -- just to name a few," he says. "We consider the rate of these services popping up as a clear indicator that there is a strong focus on compromising mobile devices -- and for good reason, considering the quantity of data and poor security on most mobile devices."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Brian Prince is a freelance writer for a number of IT security-focused publications. Prior to becoming a freelance reporter, he worked at eWEEK for five years covering not only security, but also a variety of other subjects in the tech industry. Before that, he worked as a ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-29040
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
The JSON web services in Liferay Portal 7.3.4 and earlier, and Liferay DXP 7.0 before fix pack 97, 7.1 before fix pack 20 and 7.2 before fix pack 10 may provide overly verbose error messages, which allows remote attackers to use the contents of error messages to help launch another, more focused att...
CVE-2021-29041
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
Denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in the Multi-Factor Authentication module in Liferay DXP 7.3 before fix pack 1 allows remote authenticated attackers to prevent any user from authenticating by (1) enabling Time-based One-time password (TOTP) on behalf of the other user or (2) modifying the othe...
CVE-2021-29047
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
The SimpleCaptcha implementation in Liferay Portal 7.3.4, 7.3.5 and Liferay DXP 7.3 before fix pack 1 does not invalidate CAPTCHA answers after it is used, which allows remote attackers to repeatedly perform actions protected by a CAPTCHA challenge by reusing the same CAPTCHA answer.
CVE-2021-22668
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
Delta Industrial Automation CNCSoft ScreenEditor Versions 1.01.28 (with ScreenEditor Version 1.01.2) and prior are vulnerable to an out-of-bounds read while processing project files, which may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2021-29039
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-16
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Asset module's categories administration page in Liferay Portal 7.3.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the site name.