Android Users beware

senior-woman-confused-by-tablet-computerI am not one for deliberately scaring our members, in this case those who are Android tablet or smartphone users, but you should know about a new attack by the low life out there as outlined in this report from the ESET Technology Alliance:


March 9, 2016

“ESET experts warn of Android banking malware that can steal credentials – and even bypass two-factor authentication.

ESET researchers have discovered a strain of Android malware that can steal the login credentials of mobile banking users. The malware, detected by ESET security systems as Android/Spy.Agent.SI, presents victims with a fake version of the login screen of their banking application and locks the screen until they enter their username and password. Using the stolen credentials, the thieves can then log in to the victim’s account remotely and transfer money out. They can even get the malware to send them all of the SMS text messages received by the infected device, and remove these.
“This allows SMS-based two-factor authentication of fraudulent transactions to be bypassed, without raising the suspicions of the device’s owner,” explains Lukáš Štefanko, ESET Malware Researcher who specializes in Android malware.

TrojanThe Trojan spreads as an imitation of Flash Player application. After being downloaded and installed, the app requests device administrator rights, to protect itself from being easily uninstalled from the device. After that, the malware checks if any target banking applications are installed on the device. If so, it receives fake login screens for each banking app from its command & control server. Then, once the victim launches a banking app, a fake login screen appears over the top of the legitimate app, leaving the screen locked until the victim submits their banking credentials.

This malware is subject to ongoing development. While its first versions were simple, and their malicious purpose easily identifiable, the most up-to-date versions feature better obfuscation and encryption.

The campaign discovered by ESET researchers targets major banks in Australia, New Zealand  and Turkey. In fact, the 20 financial institutions currently targeted by the app include the largest retail banks in each of the three countries. [Commonwealth Bank/ASB, National Australia Bank/BNZ, Westpac, ANZ]

“The attack has been massive and it can be easily re-focused to any another set of target banks,” warns Lukáš Štefanko.

Additional details about the campaign, the malware used and – most importantly – how to remove this malicious application from devices can be found in Lukáš Štefanko’s analysis on ESET’s official IT security blog,”

I have not yet heard of anyone here being subjected to this malware, but once again it pays to vigilant and ensure you use both virus and malware protection and if you are unsure about how to go about this do check in with Kapiti SeniorNet at the next ‘How do I…?’ workshop.

Meanwhile, as the scouts say: ‘be prepared’.