A new threat is threatening Android users, its name is Mazar BOT and has the ability to gain root access to the mobile device and completely wipe its storage.
Mazar BOT could be used by threat actors to recruit victims’ Android devices in a mobile botnet.
The experts at Heimdal Security spotted the Mazar BOT in live attacks while they were investigating an SMS message sent to random mobile numbers and locations. Mazar BOT spreads via a spam SMS or MMS that arrives with the following link (sanitized by Heimdal Security) to a malicious APK:
You have received a multimedia message from +[country code] [sender number] Follow the link http: //www.mmsforyou [.] Net / mms.apk to view the message.”
Once the victim clicks the link above, he will download the APK file on their Android devices. When the file is executed it prompts the user to install a new application with a generic name, MMS Messaging, that asks for admin level privileges … and most of the users give them to the app.
The admin privileges allow the threat actors to perform the following operations:
The researchers at Heimdal Security observed that Mazar BOT is also able to download and install a legitimate TOR Android app on the infected device, even without the user’s interaction.
“In the next phase of the attack, the infection will unpack and run the TOR application, which will then be used to connect to the following server: http: // pc35hiptpcwqezgs [.] Onion.
After that, an automated SMS will be sent to the number 9876543210 (+98 is the country code for Iran) with the text message: “Thank you”. The catch is that this SMS also includes the device’s location data.” continues the post.
The mobile malware can use the Tor app to surf the Internet anonymously. The experts also noticed that Mazar BOT also installs an Android app called Polipo Proxy which acts as a local proxy for the user’s traffic. The Polipo Proxy could be used by attackers malware’s author to spy on victim’s Web traffic and carry out Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks.
The experts believe that the Mazar BOT is operated by a Russian cyber criminal gang, it is curious that the malware cannot be installed on Android smartphones in Russia. The analysis of the source code of the malware revealed the presence of instructions on how to stop the malware installation process on phone configured with the Russian language.
Another clue that suggests the involvement of Russian bad actors is that the Mazar BOT is offered for sale on several Russian underground forums.
In order to protect mobile devices from this threat follow these simple suggestions:
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(Security Affairs – Apple iPhone, hacking)