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Posts Tagged ‘SMS’

One Year Of Android Malware (Full List)

August 11, 2011 30 comments

Update August 14: After the list (and the subsequent turmoil) here is the Look Inside a Year Of Android Malware.

So here it is the full list of Android Malware in a very dangerous year, since August, the 9th 2011 up-to-today.

My birthday gift for the Android is complete: exactly One year ago (9 August 2010) Kaspersky discovered the first SMS Trojan for Android in the Wild dubbed SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a. This is considered a special date for the Google Mobile OS, since, before then, Android Malware was a litte bit more than en exercise of Style, essentially focused on Spyware. After that everything changed, and mobile malware targeting the Android OS become more and more sophisticated.

Scroll down my special compilation showing the long malware trail which characterized this hard days for information security. Commenting the graph, in my opinion, probably the turning point was Android.Geinimi (end of 2010), featuring the characteristics of a primordial Botnet, but also Android.DroidDream (AKA RootCager) is worthwhile to mention because of its capability to root the phone and potentially to remotely install applications without direct user intervention.

As you will notice, the average impact is low, but, the number of malware is growing exponentially reaching a huge peak in July.

Let’s go in this mobile malware travel between botnets, sleepwalkers, biblic plagues and call Hijackers, and meanwhile do not forget to read my presentation on how to implement a secure mobile strategy.

Date Description Features Overall Risk
Aug 9 2010
SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a

First SMS Android Malware In the Wild: The malicious program penetrates Android devices in the guise of a harmless media player application. Once manually installed on the phone, the Trojan uses the system to begin sending SMSs to premium rate numbers without the owner’s knowledge or consent, resulting in money passing from a user’s account to that of the cybercriminals.

Aug 17 2010 AndroidOS_Droisnake.A

This is the first GPS Spy Malware disguised as an Android Snake game application. To the victim, Tap Snake looks like a clone of the Snake game. However, once someone installs this app on a phone, the “game” serves as a front for a spy app that proceeds to run in the background, secretly reporting GPS coordinates back to a server. The would-be spy then pays for and downloads an app called GPS Spy and enters an email address and code to gain access to the victim’s uploaded data.

Android MarketGPS Spy
Sep 14 2010 SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.b

Pornography lands on Android! This malware is a variant of SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.A. The malware poses as a pornographic application whose package name is pornoplayer.apk, and it installs on the phone with a pornographic icon. When the user launches the application, the malware does not show any adult content and, instead, sends 4 SMS messages to short codes, at the end-user’s expense.

Oct 13 2010
SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.c

Pornography back on Android! Third variant of the malware SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.A. New pornographic application, old icon. Sends 2 SMS messages to short codes, at the end-user’s expense.

Dec 29 2010
Android.Geinimi

First example of a Botnet-Like Malware on Android. “Grafted” onto repackaged versions of legitimate applications, primarily games, and distributed in third-party Chinese Android app markets. Once the malware is installed on a user’s phone, it has the potential to receive commands from a remote server that allow the owner of that server to control the phone. The specific information it collects includes location coordinates and unique identifiers for the device (IMEI) and SIM card (IMSI).

Botnet Like Features
Feb 14 2011
Android.Adrd AKA Android.HongTouTou

New Malware with Botnet-like Features from China. The trojan compromises personal data such as IMEI/IMSI of the device and sends them back to the remote side to react based on the commands from there. Similar to Android.Geinimi but with a lower profile (less commands)

Botnet Like Features
Feb 22 2011 Android.Pjapps

New Trojan horse embedded on third party applications. It opens a back door on the compromised device and retrieves commands from a remote command and control server.

Botnet Like Features
Mar 1 2011 Android.DroidDream AKA Android.Rootcager AKA AndroidOS_Lootoor.A

The first example of a new generation of Mobile Malware: distributed through the Official Android Market, affected, according to Symantec 50,000 to 200,000 users. Expoits two different tools (rageagainstthecage and exploid) to root the phone

Android MarketBotnet Like FeaturesRoot

Mar 9 2011 Android.BgServ AKA Troj/Bgserv-A AKA AndroidOS_BGSERV.A

Trojanized version of the Android Market Security tool released by Google, on March the 6th, to remove the effects of DroidDream. The trojan opens a back door and transmits information from the device to a remote location. It shows more than ever security and reputation flaws in the Android Market Proposition Model. 5,000 users affected.

Android MarketBotnet Like FeaturesRoot

Mar 20 2011 Android.Zeahache

Trojan horse that elevates privileges on the compromised device, discovered on a Chinese language app available for download on alternative Chinese app markets. The app has the ability to root an Android device (by mean of the exploid tool called by zHash binary), leaving the device vulnerable to future threats. The app, which provides calling plan management capabilities was found also on the Android Market albeit this version lacked the code to invoke the exploit.

Android MarketRoot

Mar 30 2011 Android.Walkinwat

Manually installed from non-official Android Markets, the Trojan modifies certain permissions on the compromised device that allow it to perform the following actions: Access contacts in the address book, ccess network information, access the phone in a read-only state, access the vibrator on the phone, Check the license server for the application, find the phone’s location, initiate a phone call without using the interface, open network sockets to access the Internet, read low-level log files, send SMS messages, turn the phone on and off. It gives a message to user trying to discipline users that download files illegally from unauthorized sites.

May 9 2011

Android.Adsms AKA AndroidOS_Adsms.A

This malware specifically targeted China Mobile subscribers. The malware arrived through a link sent through SMS. The said message tells the China Mobile users to install a patch for their supposedly vulnerable devices by accessing the given link, which actually leads to a malicious configuration file. The malware then send message to premium numbers.

Android Market

May 11 2011

Android.Zsone AKA Android.Smstibook

Google removed a Trojan, Zsone, from the Android Market with the ability to subscribe users in China to premium rate QQ codes via SMS without their knowledge. 10,000 users affected.

Android Market

May 22 2011

Android.Spacem

A biblical plague For Android! Trojanized version of a legitimate application that is part threat, part doomsayer. The threat was embedded in a pirated version of an app called ‘Holy ***king Bible’, which itself has stirred controversy on multiple forums in which the app is in circulation. The malware targeted North American Users. After the reboot, it starts a service whichm at regular intervals, attempts to contact a host service, passing along the device’s phone number and operator code. It then attempts to retrieve a command from a remote location in intervals of 33 minutes. In addition to having abilities to respond to commands through the Internet and SMS, the threat also has activities that are designed to trigger on the 21 and 22 of May 2011, respectively (The End of The World).

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

May 31 2011

Android.LightDD

A brand new version of Android.DroidDream, dubbed DroidDreamLight, was found in 24 additional apps repackaged and redistributed with the malicious payload across a total of 5 different developers distributed in the Android Market. Between 30.000 and 120.000 users affected.

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

Jun 6 2011

Android/DroidKungFu.A AKA Android.Gunfu

Malware which uses the same exploit than DroidDream, rageagainstthecage, to gain root privilege and install the main malware component. Once installed, the malware has backdoor capabilities and is able to: execute command to delete a supplied file, execute a command to open a supplied homepage, download and install a supplied APK, open a supplied URL, run or start a supplied application package. The malware is moreover capable to obtain some information concerning the device and send them to a remote server: The collected information include: IMEI number, Build version release, SDK version, users’ mobile number, Phone model, Network Operator, Type of Net Connectivity, SD card available memory, Phone available memory. In few words, the device is turned into a member of a botnet.

Root

Botnet Like Features

Jun 9 2011

Android.Basebridge

Trojan Horse that attempts to send premium-rate SMS messages to predetermined numbers. When an infected application is installed, it attempts to exploit the udev Netlink Message Validation Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability (BID 34536) in order to obtain “root” privileges.  Once running with “root” privileges it installs an executable which contains functionality to communicate with a control server using HTTP protocol and sends information such as Subscriber ID, Manufacturer and Model of the device, Version of the Android operating system. The Trojan also periodically connects to the control server and may perform the following actions: send SMS messages, remove SMS messages from the Inbox and dial phone numbers. The Trojan also contains functionality to monitor phone usage.

Botnet Like Features

Jun 9 2011

Android.Uxipp AKA Android/YZHCSMS.A

Trojan Horse that attempts to send premium-rate SMS messages to predetermined numbers. Again the threat is as an application for a Chinese gaming community. When executed, the Trojan attempts to send premium-rate SMS messages to several numbers and remove the SMS sent.
The Trojan sends device information, such as IMEI and IMSI numbers.

Android Market

Jun 10 2011

Andr/Plankton-A AKA Android.Tonclank 

This is a Trojan horse which steals information and may open a back door on Android devices. Available for download in the Android Market embedded in several applications, when the Trojan is executed, it steals the following information from the device: Device ID and Device permissions. The above information is then sent to a remote server from which  the Trojan downloads a .jar file which opens a back door and accepts commands to perform the following actions on the compromised device: copies all of the bookmarks on the device, copies all of the history on the device, copies all of the shortcuts on the device, creates a log of all of the activities performed on the device, modifies the browser’s home page, returns the status of the last executed command. The gathered information is then sent to a remote location.

Although this malware does not root the phone, its approach of loading additional code does not allow security software on Android to inspect the downloaded file in the usual “on-access” fashion, but only through scheduled and “on-demand” scans. This is the reason why the malware was not discovered before.

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

Jun 15 2011

Android.Jsmshider

Trojan found in alternative Android markets that predominately target Chinese Android users. This Trojan predominantly affects devices with a custom ROM. The application masquerades as a legitimate one and exploits a vulnerability found in the way most custom ROMs sign their system images to install a secondary payload (without user permission) onto the ROM, giving it the ability to communicate with a remote server and receive commands. Once installed the second payload may read, send and process incoming SMS messages (potentially for mTAN interception or fraudulent premium billing subscriptions), install apps trasparently, communicate with a remote server using DES encryption.

Botnet Like Features

Jun 20 2011

Android.GGTracker

This trojan is automatically downloaded to a user’s phone after visiting a malicious webpage that imitates the Android Market. The Trojan, which targets users in the United States by interacting with a number of premium SMS subscription services without consent, is able to sign-up a victim to a number of premium SMS subscription services without the user’s consent.  This can lead to unapproved charges to a victim’s phone bill. Android users are directed to install this Trojan after clicking on a malicious in-app advertisement, for instance a Fake Battery Saver.

Jul 1 2011

Android.KungFu Variants

Repackaged and distributed in the form of “legitimate” applications, these two variants are different from the original one by  re-implementing some of their malicious functionalities in native code and supporting two additional command and control (C&C) domains. The changes are possibly in place to make their detection and analysis harder.

The repackaged apps infected with the DroidKungFu variants are made available through a number of alternative app markets and forums targeting Chinese-speaking users.

RootBotnet Like Features
Jul 3 2011 AndroidOS_Crusewin.A AKA Android.Crusewind

Another example of a trojan which sends SMS to premium rate numbers. It also acts as a SMS Relay. It displays a standard Flash icon in the application list. The Trojan attempts to download an XML configuration file and uses it to retrieve a list of further URLs to send and receive additional data. The Trojan also contains functionality to perform the following actions: delete itself, delete SMS messages, send premium-rate SMS messages to the number that is specified in the downloaded XML configuration file, update itself.

Jul 6 2011

AndroidOS_SpyGold.A AKA Android.GoldDream

This backdoor is a Trojanized copy of a legitimate gaming application for Android OS smartphones. It steals sensitive information of the affected phone’s SMS and calls functions, compromising the security of the device and of the user. It monitors the affected phone’s SMS and phone calls and sends stolen information to a remote URL. It also connects to a malicious URL in order to receive commands from a remote malicious user.

Botnet Like Features

Jul 8 2011 DroidDream Light Variant

New variant of DroidDream Light in the Android Market, immediately removed by Google. Number of downloads was limited to 1000 – 5000. This is the third iteration of malware likely created by the authors of DroidDream.

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

Jul 11 2011

Android.Smssniffer AKA Andr/SMSRep-B/C AKA Android.Trojan.SmsSpy.B/C AKA Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.Smser.a


ZiTMO arrives on Android!
This threat is found bundled with repackaged versions of legitimate applications. When the Trojan is executed, it grabs a copy of all SMS messages received on the handheld device and sends them to a remote location.

Jul 12 2011

Android.HippoSMS AKA Android.Hippo

Another threat found bundled with repackaged versions of legitimate applications. When the Trojan is executed, it grabs a copy of all SMS messages received on the handheld device and sends them to a remote location.

Jul 15 2011

Android.Fokonge

This threat is often found bundled with repackaged versions of legitimate applications. The repackaged applications are typically found on unofficial websites offering Android applications. When the Trojan is executed, it steals information and sends it to a remote server.

Botnet Like Features

Jul 15 2011

Android/Sndapps.A AKA Android.Snadapps

Five Android Apps found in the official Android Market share a common suspicious payload which upload users’ personal information such as email accounts as well as phone numbers to a remote server without user’s awareness.

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

Jul 27 2011

Android.Nickispy

Trojan horse which steals several information from Android devices (for instance GPS Location or Wi-Fi position). For the first time on the Android Platform a malware is believed  to spy conversations.

Botnet Like Features

Jul 28 2011

Android.Lovetrap

Trojan horse that sends SMS messages to premium-rate phone number. When the Trojan is executed, it retrieves information containing premium-rate phone numbers from a malicious URL then sends premium-rate SMS messages. and attempts to block any confirmation SMS messages the compromised device may receive from the premium-rate number in an attempt to mask its activities. The Trojan also attempts to gather IMSI and location information and send the information to the remote attacker.

Aug2 2011

Android.Premiumtext

This is a detection for Trojan horses that send SMS texts to premium-rate numbers. These Trojan is a repackaged versions of genuine Android software packages, often distributed outside the Android Marketplace. The package name, publisher, and other details will vary and may be taken directly from the original application..

Aug 9 2011

Android.NickiBot

It belongs to the same NickiSpy family. However, it is significantly different from its predecessor since it is fully controlled by SMS messages instead of relying on a hard-coded C&C server for instructions. In addition, NickiBot supports a range of bot commands, such as for (GPS-based) location monitoring, sound recording and (email-based) uploading, calllog collection, etc. It also has a check-in mechanism to a remote website. his threat is often found bundled with repackaged versions of legitimate applications. The repackaged applications are typically found on unofficial websites offering Android applications. When the Trojan is executed, it steals information and sends it to a remote server.

Botnet Like Features

Legend

Parallel Market

Android MarketAndroid Market

Manual Install

Automatic Install of Apps

Send SMS or Calls to Premium Numbers

Botnet Like Features Server C&C

GPS SpyGPS Spyware

Root Root Access

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Happy Birthday! One Year of Android Malware

August 9, 2011 2 comments

Exactly One year ago (9 August 2010) Kaspersky discovered the first SMS Trojan for Android in the Wild dubbed SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a. This is considered a special date for the Google Mobile OS, since, before then, Android Malware was a litte bit more than en exercise of Style, essentially focused on Spyware. After that everything changed, and mobile malware targeting the Android OS become more and more sophisticated.

For this reason I decided to prepare a special birthday gift for the Android, that is a special compilation showing the long malware trail which characterized this day. Commenting the graph, in my opinion, probably the turning point was Android.Geinimi (end of 2010), featuring the characteristics of a primordial Botnet, but also Android.DroidDream (AKA RootCager) is worthwhile to mention because of its capability to root the phone and potentially to remotely install applications without direct user intervention. Moreover, as you will have probably noticed, the average impact is low, but, the number of malware is growing exponentially after June, this is the reason why I decided to divide my special compilation in two parts. Today is part I: from the beginning to May, the 31st 2011.

Let’s go in this mobile malware travel between botnets, sleepwalkers and biblic plagues and meanwhile do not forget to read my presentation on how to implement a secure mobile strategy.

Date Description Features Overall Risk
Aug 9 2010
SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a

First SMS Android Malware In the Wild: The malicious program penetrates Android devices in the guise of a harmless media player application. Once manually installed on the phone, the Trojan uses the system to begin sending SMSs to premium rate numbers without the owner’s knowledge or consent, resulting in money passing from a user’s account to that of the cybercriminals.

Aug 17 2010 AndroidOS_Droisnake.A

This is the first GPS Spy Malware disguised as an Android Snake game application. To the victim, Tap Snake looks like a clone of the Snake game. However, once someone installs this app on a phone, the “game” serves as a front for a spy app that proceeds to run in the background, secretly reporting GPS coordinates back to a server. The would-be spy then pays for and downloads an app called GPS Spy and enters an email address and code to gain access to the victim’s uploaded data.

Android MarketGPS Spy
Sep 14 2010 SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.b

Pornography lands on Android! This malware is a variant of SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.A. The malware poses as a pornographic application whose package name is pornoplayer.apk, and it installs on the phone with a pornographic icon. When the user launches the application, the malware does not show any adult content and, instead, sends 4 SMS messages to short codes, at the end-user’s expense.

Oct 13 2010
SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.c

Pornography back on Android! Third variant of the malware SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.A. New pornographic application, old icon. Sends 2 SMS messages to short codes, at the end-user’s expense.

Dec 29 2010
Android.Geinimi

First example of a Botnet-Like Malware on Android. “Grafted” onto repackaged versions of legitimate applications, primarily games, and distributed in third-party Chinese Android app markets. Once the malware is installed on a user’s phone, it has the potential to receive commands from a remote server that allow the owner of that server to control the phone. The specific information it collects includes location coordinates and unique identifiers for the device (IMEI) and SIM card (IMSI).

Botnet Like Features
Feb 14 2011
Android.Adrd AKA Android.HongTouTou

New Malware with Botnet-like Features from China. The trojan compromises personal data such as IMEI/IMSI of the device and sends them back to the remote side to react  based on the commands from there. Similar to Android.Geinimi but with a lower profile (less commands)

Botnet Like Features
Feb 22 2011 Android.Pjapps

New Trojan horse embedded on third party applications. It opens a back door on the compromised device and retrieves commands from a remote command and control server.

Botnet Like Features
Mar 1 2011 Android.DroidDream AKA Android.Rootcager AKA AndroidOS_Lootoor.A

The first example of a new generation of Mobile Malware: distributed through the Official Android Market, affected, according to Symantec 50,000 to 200,000 users. Expoits two different tools  (rageagainstthecage and exploid) to root the phone

Android MarketBotnet Like FeaturesRoot

Mar 9 2011 Android.BgServ AKA Troj/Bgserv-A AKA AndroidOS_BGSERV.A

Trojanized version of the Android Market Security tool released by Google, on March the 6th, to remove the effects of DroidDream. The trojan opens a back door and transmits information from the device to a remote location. It shows more than ever security and reputation flaws in the Android Market Proposition Model. 5,000 users affected.

Android MarketBotnet Like FeaturesRoot

Mar 20 2011 Android.Zeahache

Trojan horse that elevates privileges on the compromised device, discovered on a Chinese language app available for download on alternative Chinese app markets. The app has the ability to root an Android device (by mean of the exploid tool called by zHash binary), leaving the device vulnerable to future threats. The app, which provides calling plan management capabilities was found also on the Android Market albeit this version lacked the code to invoke the exploit.

Android MarketRoot

Mar 30 2011 Android.Walkinwat

Manually installed from non-official Android Markets, the Trojan modifies certain permissions on the compromised device that allow it to perform the following actions: Access contacts in the address book, ccess network information, access the phone in a read-only state, access the vibrator on the phone, Check the license server for the application, find the phone’s location, initiate a phone call without using the interface, open network sockets to access the Internet, read low-level log files, send SMS messages, turn the phone on and off. It gives a message to user  trying to discipline users that download files illegally from unauthorized sites.

May 9 2011

Android.Adsms AKA AndroidOS_Adsms.A

This malware specifically targeted China Mobile subscribers. The malware arrived through a link sent through SMS. The said message tells the China Mobile users to install a patch for their supposedly vulnerable devices by accessing the given link, which actually leads to a malicious configuration file. The malware then send message to premium numbers.

Android Market

May 11 2011

Android.Zsone AKA Android.Smstibook

Google removed a Trojan, Zsone, from the Android Market with the ability to subscribe users in China to premium rate QQ codes via SMS without their knowledge. 10,000 users affected.

Android Market

May 22 2011

Android.Spacem

A biblical plague For Android! Trojanized version of a legitimate application that is part threat, part doomsayer. The threat was embedded in a pirated version of an app called ‘Holy ***king Bible’, which itself has stirred controversy on multiple forums in which the app is in circulation. The malware targeted North American Users. After the reboot, it starts a service whichm at regular intervals, attempts to contact a host service, passing along the device’s phone number and operator code. It then attempts to retrieve a command from a remote location in intervals of 33 minutes. In addition to having abilities to respond to commands through the Internet and SMS, the threat also has activities that are designed to trigger on the 21 and 22 of May 2011, respectively (The End of The World).

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

May 31 2011

Android.LightDD

A brand new version of Android.DroidDream, dubbed DroidDreamLight, was found in 24 additional apps repackaged and redistributed with the malicious payload across a total of 5 different developers distributed in the Android Market. Between 30.000 and 120.000 users affected.

Android Market

Botnet Like Features

Legend

Parallel Market

Android MarketAndroid Market

Manual Install

Automatic Install of Apps

Send SMS or Calls to Premium Numbers

Botnet Like Features Server C&C

GPS SpyGPS Spyware

If The Droid Gets The (China’s) Flu

May 14, 2011 1 comment

The thought of this night is dedicated to yet another couple of android malwares detected (as usual) in China.

It was a bit of time that the droid was not sick, however, as the change of season is often fatal to humans, so it is for the Androids which caught two new infections in few days.

On May, the 11th, it was the turn of a new Trojan embedded, once again as in the case of the notorious DroidDream (but I’d rather say that malware is becoming a nightmare for the Google Creature) in official applications inside the Android Market. All the applications were published by the same developer, Zsone, and were suddenly removed by Google.

The Trojan, which affects Chinese users, is characterized by the ability to subscribe users in China to premium rate QQ codes via SMS without their knowledge. QQ codes, used primarily in China, are a form of short code that can subscribe users to SMS update or instant message services. The malware was embedded in 10 apps by the developer named Zsone available on the Android Market and alternative markets.

Once the user starts the app on their phone, the app will silently send an SMS message to subscribe the user to a premium-rate SMS service without their authorization or knowledge. This may result in charges to the affected phone owner’s mobile accounts. Even if the threat affects Chinese Android phone owners who downloaded the app from the Android Market, the total number of downloads attributed to this app in the Android Market has appeared to be under 10,000.  All instances of the threat have been removed from the market.

On May, the 12th, it was the turn of ANDROIDOS_TCENT.A, discovered by Trend Micro. This malware, which only affects China Mobile subscribers (the state-owned service provider  considered the world’s largest mobile phone operator), arrived to users  through a link sent through SMS, whose message invited the China Mobile users to install a patch for their supposedly vulnerable devices by accessing the given link, which actually led to a malicious file (fake AV have landed on mobile devices as well).

The malware is capable to obtain certain information about the affected devices such as IMEI number, phone model, and SDK version and connects to a certain URL to request for an XML configuration file.

Two very different infections, having a common origin from China: the first example emphasizes once again the breaches into the security and reputation model of the Android Market. The second one features a well established infection model who is rapidly gaining credit (and victims) also in the mobile world: the SMS phishing. I think we will often hear speaking about in the next months.

The two malware infections came a couple of days after the Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011 issued by Juniper Networks which indicated a 400% increase in Android malware since summer 2010 and other key findings, several of which were clearly found in the above mentioned infections:

  • App Store Threats: That is the single greatest distribution point for mobile malware is application download, yet the vast majority of smartphone users are not employing an endpoint security solution on their mobile device to scan for malware;
  • Wi-Fi Threats: Mobile devices are increasingly susceptible to Wi-Fi attacks, including applications that enable an attacker to easily log into victim email and social networking applications
  • 17 percent of all reported infections were due to SMS trojans that sent SMS messages to premium rate numbers, often at irretrievable cost to the user or enterprise
  • Device Loss and Theft: according to the author of the report: 1 in 20 among the Juniper customer devices were lost or stolen, requiring locate, lock or wipe commands to be issued

Will it also be for these reasons that Smartphone security software market is expected to reach $2.99 billion by 2017? Maybe! Meanwhile I recommend to be very careful to install applications from parallel markets and in any case (since we have seen that this is not enough) to always check the application permissions during installation. Moreover, do not forget to install a security software if possible as the 23% of the droid users (among which there is me) does.

Lo Smartphone? Ha fatto il BOT!

February 23, 2011 2 comments

E’ stato appena pubblicato un interessante articolo di Georgia Weidman relativo al concept di una botnet di smartphone controllati tramite SMS. Il lavoro, annunciato alla fine del mese di gennaio 2011 e presentato alla Shmoocon di Washington, aveva da subito attirato la mia attenzione poiché, in tempi non sospetti, avevo ipotizzato che la concomitanza di fattori quali la crescente potenza di calcolo dei dispositivi mobili e la loro diffusione esponenziale, avrebbe presto portato alla nascita di possibili eserciti di Androidi (o Mele) controllate da remoto in grado di eseguire la volontà del proprio padrone.

Il modello di mobile bot ipotizzato (per cui è stato sviluppato un Proof-Of-Concept per diverse piattaforme) è molto raffinato e prevede il controllo dei terminali compromessi da parte di un server C&C di Comando e Controllo, mediante messaggi SMS (con una struttura di controllo gerarchica), che vengono intercettati da un livello applicativo malevolo posizionato tra il driver GSM ed il livello applicativo. La scelta degli SMS come mezzo di trasmissione (che in questo modello di controllo assurgono al ruolo di indirizzi IP) è dovuto all’esigenza di rendere quanto più possibile trasparente il meccanismo di controllo per utenti e operatori (l’alternativa sarebbe quella del controllo tramite una connessione  dati che tuttavia desterebbe presto l’attenzione dell’utente per l’aumento sospetto di consumo della batteria che non è mai troppo per gli Androidi e i Melafonini ubriaconi). Naturalmente il livello applicativo malevolo è completamente trasparente per l’utente e del tutto inerme nel processare i dati e gli SMS leciti e passarli correttamente al livello applicativo senza destare sospetti.

Georgia Weidman non ha trascurato proprio nulla e nel suo modello ipotizza una struttura gerarchica a tre livelli:

  • Il primo livello è composto dai Master Bot, controllati direttamente dagli “ammucchiatori”. I Master Bot non sono necessariamente terminali (nemmeno compromessi), ma dovendo impartire ordini via SMS possono essere dispositivi qualsiasi dotati di un Modem;
  • Il secondo livello è composto dai Sentinel Bot: questi agiscono come proxy tra i master e l’esercito di terminali compromessi. Le sentinelle devono essere dispositivi “di fiducia”, ovvero dispositivi sotto il diretto controllo degli “ammucchiatori” o membri della botnet da un periodo di tempo sufficientemente lungo da far ritenere che l’infezione sia ormai passata inosservata per il proprietario e degna pertanto di promuoverli al ruolo di sentinelle.
  • Il terzo livello è composto dagli slave bot. I veri e propri soldati dell’esercito di terminali compromessi che ricevono le istruzioni dalla sentinelle ed eseguono il volere del capo.

Da notare che questo modello gerarchico applica il paradigma del “divide et impera”. I terminali compromessi slave non comunicano mai direttamente con il master, e solo quest’ultimo, inoltre, conosce la struttura dell’intera botnet. L’utilizzo del SMS inoltre consente al master di poter cambiare numero di telefono all’occorrenza ed eludere così le forze del bene, ovvero gli eventuali cacciatori di bot.

Ovviamente tutte le comunicazioni avvengono tramite SMS cifrati (con un algoritmo di cifratura a chiave asimmetrica) e autenticati, inoltre la scoperta di un telefono infetto non pregiudica l’intera rete di terminali compromessi ma solo il segmento controllato dalla sentinella di riferimento (il master può sempre cambiare numero).

Quali possono essere gli utilizzi di una botnet così strutturata? Naturalmente rubare informazioni, per fini personali o di qualsiasi altro tipo (politici, economici, etc.). Purtroppo, per questa classe di dispositivi, che stanno trovando sempre di più applicazioni verso i livelli alti di una Organizzazione, gli exploit e i bachi sono all’ordine del giorno per cui teoricamente sarebbe possibile rubare il contenuto della memoria SD con un semplice SMS. Ma non finisce qui purtroppo: considerata la potenza di calcolo (abbiamo ormai un PC nel taschino) e la potenza di calcolo, questi dispositivi possono essere facilmente usati come seminatori di traffico, ovvero sorgenti di attacchi di tipo DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), specialmente nel caso di connessioni Wi-Fi che si appoggiano su un operatore fisso  che offre possibilità  di banda maggiori e quindi più consone ad un attacco di tipo Distributed Denial Of Service. Questo si sposa perfettamente con la dinamicità di una botnet basata su SMS (in cui il master può cambiare numero per nascondersi) e con le infrastrutture degli operatori mobili (o fissi offerenti servizi Wi-Fi) che potrebbero non essere completamente pronte per affrontare simili tipologie di eventi informatici (come anche evidenziato dal recente report di Arbor Networks). Altra nefasta applicazione potrebbe essere lo spam, soprattutto se effettuato tramite SMS. Interessante inoltre la combinazione con il GPS che potrebbe portare al blocco totale delle comunicazioni GSM in determinate circostanze spazio-temporali (sembra fantapolitica ma è comunque teoricamente possibile).

Rimane ora l’ultimo punto che era rimasto in sospeso quando avevo trattato di questo argomento per la prima volta:  mi ero difatti chiesto la questione fondamentale, ovvero se il software malevolo di bot avesse necessità o meno di permessi di root. La risposta è affermativa, ma questo non mitiga la gravità del Proof-Of-Concept, ribadisce anzi l’importanza di un concetto fondamentale: alla base della sicurezza c’è sempre l’utente, il cui controllo sovrasta anche i meccanismi di sicurezza del sistema operativo, e questo non solo perché ancora una volta viene evidenziata drammaticamente la pericolosità di pratiche “smanettone” sui propri dispositivi (che possono avere conseguenze ancora più gravi se il terminale è usato per scopi professionali), ma anche perché gli utenti devono prendere consapevolezza del modello di sicurezza necessario, facendo attenzione alle applicazioni installate.

Lato operatori, urge l’assicurazione che gli aggiornamenti di sicurezza raggiungano sempre i dispositivi non appena rilasciati. Aggiungerei inoltre, sulla scia di quanto dichiarato da Arbor Networks, possibili investimenti infrastrutturali per l’eventuale rilevazione di eventi anomali dentro i propri confini.

A questo punto, il fatto che i produttori di sicurezza abbiano, quasi all’unanimità, inserito il mondo mobile al centro delle preoccupazioni di sicurezza per il 2011 perde qualsiasi dubbio sul fatto che si tratti di una moda passeggera, ed è asupicabile che  gli stessi stiano già correndo ai ripari, aggiungendo livelli di sicurezza aggiuntivi ai meccanismi intrinseci del sistema operativo con l’ausilio di tecnologie di DLP (come indicato dal report Cisco per il 2011), virtualizzazione e integrando sempre di più tecnologie di sicurezza nei dispositivi: ultimo annuncio in ordine di tempo? Quello di McAfee Intel che si dimostra, ancora una volta, molto attiva nel settore mobile.

(Dis)informazione via SMS

February 5, 2011 1 comment

 

I social media e gli smartphone sono stati senza dubbio protagonisti degli eventi in Egitto. Dapprima i cinguetti su twitter che hanno permesso al Mondo di assistere  in diretta agli eventi, poi il grossolano tentativo delle autorità di fermare la diffusione virtuale della protesta staccando i bocchettoni del Web e ammutolendo la rete mobile, grossolano tentativo che ha dimostrato, più dei proverbiali fiumi di parole e delle seguenti analisi sociologiche a cui nostro malgrado siamo ormai abituati, l’importanza del social network nel microcosmo di ciascuno e nel macrocosmo del Pianeta.

Ieri è trapelata la notizia che la rete mobile non era proprio del tutto silente, anzi… In quelle drammatiche ore  le Autorità  Egiziane si sono attivate (anzi sarebbe il caso di dire hacktivate) e decine di migliaia di utenti hanno improvvisamente udito, con sorpresa, i propri telefonini trillare, temporaneamente risvegliatisi dal coma farmacologico etereo imposto dalle Autorità. La causa del “miracoloso” risveglio? Messaggi di propaganda del governo che tentavano (tentativo vano ho la sensazione) di calmare le acque. Tra le proteste degli operatori, in particolare Vodafone, le autorità egiziane si sono appellate al Telecom Act che consente al Governo, in particolari condizioni di sicurezza nazionale, di eludere il controllo e la volontà dei carrier al fine di inviare messaggi agli utenti delle compagnie di telefonia mobile Mobinil, Etisalat e Vodafone. Di seguito il contenuto di alcuni messaggi:

 

“Egypt’s youth. Beware rumors and listen to the voice of reason. Egypt is above all so preserve it.”

“To each mother-father-sister-brother, to every honest citizen. Preserve this country because the homeland stays forever.”

“A sweeping demonstration starting at noon on Wednesday from the Mustafa Mahmoud square in Mohandessin to support president Mubarak.”

 

Vodafone Egitto, che ha subito passivamente il broadcast di SMS nella propria rete, ha protestato con le Autorità ed ha rilasciato il seguente comunicato:

 

Statement – Vodafone Egypt Thursday 3 February 2011

Under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian authorities can instruct the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt. They have used this since the start of the protests. These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content.

Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator.

 

La facile ironia è d’obbligo… Per motivi diversi (e purtroppo meno nobili) anche la temperatura del suolo politico italico in questo momento è piuttosto hot. Chissà che, sulla spinta dell’esempio accaduto all’ombra delle Piramidi, anche sotto l’ombra del Colosseo a qualcuno non venga l’idea, per motivi di interesse nazionale, di ripulirsi l’immagine con sms di massa…

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