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.

Mobile Security //


// // //
12:30 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb

Android Banking Trojan 'Gustuff' Becomes More Dangerous

New report puts Gustuff into the same threat tier as Anubis, Red Alert, Exobot, LokiBot and BankBot.

An Android banking Trojan that has been around since 2018 has evolved into one of the most serious of financial threats, according to a reportby Group-IB.

They put the Trojan -- named Gustuff -- into the same threat tier as Anubis, Red Alert, Exobot, LokiBot and BankBot.

Inside of it are web fakes designed to target users of the Android apps used by top banks including Bank of America, Bank of Scotland, J.P.Morgan, Wells Fargo, Capital One, TD Bank and PNC Bank.

It also tries to take over crypto services such as Bitcoin Wallet, BitPay, Cryptopay and Coinbase. Payment services like PayPal, Revolut, Western Union, eBay, Walmart and WhatsApp can also be spoofed by the Trojan.

Group-IB specialists said that they discovered that Gustuff could potentially target users of more than 100 banking apps. These apps will include 27 in the US, 16 in Poland, ten in Australia, nine in Germany, and eight in India besides the 32 cryptocurrency apps that appear to be vulnerable to it.

The infection method is fairly prosaic. It sends an SMS message to the phone containing a link to malicious Android Package (APK) file. APK is the file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of applications.

Once infected, the Trojan may spread through the device's contact list or server database.

Gustuff is able to display fake push notifications with legitimate icons of the apps which allows it to impersonate the legitimate app. But it has one unique feature to it that makes it even more miserable. ATS (Automatic Transfer Systems) is a legitimate Android feature that autofills fields in many legitimate mobile banking apps, cryptocurrency wallets as well as other apps to speed things up. ATS is found in the Trojan and it will scale up thefts.

Now, ATS is implemented using the Accessibility Service that is targeted at people with disabilities. This allows the Trojan to successfully bypass security measures against interactions with other apps' windows that would otherwise be in effect.

Group-IB says it can also turn off Google Protect about 70% of the time.

The security firm also notes that, "Although the Trojan was developed by a Russian-speaking cybercriminal, Gustuff operates exclusively on international markets. All new Android Trojans offered on underground forums, including Gustuff, are designed to be used mainly outside Russia, and target customers of international companies."

Sam Bakken, senior product marketing manager at OneSpan, found a trend evolving with Gustuff. He told Security Now that "What's interesting is more and more modular malware that will target not only mobile banking or not only payment services or not only cryptowallets, but all of them. This particular example even targeted messaging and retail apps. What developers need to remember is that if their app handles payments in any way, shape or form, that right there makes it imperative to raise the level of the security within their app. Criminals are increasingly targeting mobile apps as consumers increasingly use them to buy things and move money around."

Android as an OS has some major security issues. But Bakken makes a good point. It's up to app developers to assume they will at some point be attacked, and find ways to bake in protection against those attacks.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How Machine Learning, AI & Deep Learning Improve Cybersecurity
Machine intelligence is influencing all aspects of cybersecurity. Organizations are implementing AI-based security to analyze event data using ML models that identify attack patterns and increase automation. Before security teams can take advantage of AI and ML tools, they need to know what is possible. This report covers: -How to assess the vendor's AI/ML claims -Defining success criteria for AI/ML implementations -Challenges when implementing AI
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-02
In FasterXML jackson-databind before 2.14.0-rc1, resource exhaustion can occur because of a lack of a check in primitive value deserializers to avoid deep wrapper array nesting, when the UNWRAP_SINGLE_VALUE_ARRAYS feature is enabled.
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-02
In FasterXML jackson-databind before 2.13.4, resource exhaustion can occur because of a lack of a check in BeanDeserializer._deserializeFromArray to prevent use of deeply nested arrays. An application is vulnerable only with certain customized choices for deserialization.
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-01
SonicJS through 0.6.0 allows file overwrite. It has the following mutations that are used for updating files: fileCreate and fileUpdate. Both of these mutations can be called without any authentication to overwrite any files on a SonicJS application, leading to Arbitrary File Write and Delete.
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-30
### Impact In a CSRF attack, an innocent end user is tricked by an attacker into submitting a web request that they did not intend. This may cause actions to be performed on the website that can include inadvertent client or server data leakage, change of session state, or manipulation of an end use...
PUBLISHED: 2022-09-30
Dell Hybrid Client prior to version 1.8 contains a Regular Expression Denial of Service Vulnerability in the UI. An adversary with WMS group admin access could potentially exploit this vulnerability, leading to temporary denial-of-service.