Android malware served via compromised websites

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   May 3, 2012

Malware downloaded automatically, but requires user permission to be installed.

Researchers at mobile security company Lookout have discovered a number of compromised websites that make Android devices automatically download (but not install) a malicious application.

Drive-by downloads are a common threat to PCs and Macs: they are generally served through compromised websites and use unpatched vulnerabilities to silently install malware. In this particular threat, the malware is served in an iframe and only to those devices with a user-agent that contains the string android; requests from other browsers result in a blank iframe.

One important difference between this and common drive-by download attacks is that the malicious app does not install unless the user has set their device to allow apps from 'unknown sources'; that is, from sources other than Google Play, the official Android marketplace. Moreover, it does not exploit any vulnerability and the user needs to give explicit permission for the app to be installed - though as it claims to be a security update, many users will probably be tricked into giving permission.

Once installed, the app - which the researchers have called 'NotCompatible' - does not appear to cause any direct harm to the device. However, given the permissons it requires, it could be used to gain access to corporate networks and turn the device into a TCP proxy.

The researchers believe that the affected sites show relatively low traffic and thus expect the total impact to Android users to be low. However, as yet another PC threat makes it to mobile devices, mobile users ought to realise they cannot ignore the security of their devices any longer.

More at Lookout's blog here.

At VB2012 (Dallas, 26-28 September) ESET's Righard Zwienenberg will present a paper looking at the security risks of employees using their personal devices for corporate means. Registration for VB2012 is now open.

Posted on 3 May 2012 by Virus Bulletin

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

New paper: LokiBot: dissecting the C&C panel deployments

First advertised as an information stealer and keylogger when it appeared in underground forums in 2015, LokiBot has added various capabilities over the years and has affected many users worldwide. In a new paper researcher Aditya Sood analyses the…

VB2019 presentation: Building secure sharing systems that treat humans as features not bugs

In a presentation at VB2019 in London, Virtru's Andrea Limbago described how, by exploring data sharing challenges through a socio-technical lens, it is possible to make significant gains toward the secure sharing systems and processes that are vital…

VB2019 presentation: Attor: spy platform with curious GSM fingerprinting

Attor is a newly discovered cyber-espionage platform, use of which dates back to at least 2014 and which focuses on diplomatic missions and governmental institutions. Details of Attor were presented at VB2019 in London by ESET researcher Zuzana…

Why we encourage newcomers and seasoned presenters alike to submit a paper for VB2020

With the call for papers for VB2020 currently open, we explain why, whether you've never presented before or you're a conference circuit veteran, if you have some interesting research to share with the community we want to hear from you!

VB2019 paper: The cake is a lie! Uncovering the secret world of malware-like cheats in video games

At VB2019 in London, Kaspersky researcher Santiago Pontiroli presented a paper on the growing illegal economy around video game cheats and its parallels with the malware industry. Today we publish both Santiago's paper and the recording of his…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.