Resources for writing spyware apps

Category: Unit With the prevalence of Google Android smartphones and the popularity of feature-rich apps, more and more people rely on smartphones to store and handle kinds of personal and business information which attracts adversaries who want to steal that information. SpyDealer uses exploits from a commercial rooting app to gain root privilege, which enables the subsequent data theft.

As of June , we have captured samples of SpyDealer.

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Our analysis shows that SpyDealer is currently under active development. There are three versions of this malware currently in the wild, 1. Starting from 1.

An accessibility service was also introduced in 1. The most recent sample we have observed was created in May, while the oldest sample dates back to October, , indicating this malware family has been active for over a year and a half. We also observed evidence of infected users discussing the malware in October and February as shown in Figure 1. After installed on an Android device, SpyDealer shows no application icon. However, it registers two broadcast receivers to listen for events related to the device booting up and network connection status. Whenever any of these events are broadcasted, the key service component AaTService starts.

At the first launch, it retrieves configuration information from the local asset file named readme. The first line of this file indicates the IP address of a remote C2 server, the second line configures what actions the malware can take on mobile networks, and the third line specifies what actions are allowed under a Wi-Fi network.

The configuration settings can also be remotely updated by various C2 channels. One example of the readme. A partial listing of the configurable actions is depicted in Table 1. SpyDealer uses two different rooting procedures to gain root superuser privilege.

Samples of version 1. This is not the first time that Android malware has stolen root exploits from existing commercial rooting tools. Table 2 gives a full list of the exploits stolen by SpyDealer. SpyDealer 1.

Readers should note that this second rooting method only targets Android versions from 4. However, the exploits used in this attack remains unknown to us as none of logo. After gaining root privilege, SpyDealer takes steps to maintain persistence on the compromised device. It first drops a native executable file powermanager to its own data directory Figure 6. After reinstallation, the core SpyDealer service AaTService is launched to perform malicious behaviors.

SpyDealer is capable of receiving commands from remote servers via a number of different channels by either actively initiating connections to C2 servers or passively receiving instructions from C2 servers.

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This section details how the malware utilizes each of these channels to communicate with the remote C2 servers. SpyDealer registers a broadcast receiver with a higher priority than the default messaging app to listen for the commands via incoming SMS messages. The commands received through SMS are first decoded for further parsing and processing.

Each SMS command contains a command index and arguments split by a newline. The command index ranges from 1 to 5 and each command is detailed in Table 3.

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To get the geographical location based on the GSM cell information, SpyDealer takes advantage of the interface of Baidu map service Figure 9. It first collects the GSM cell identity, area code and network operator and then posts the encoded data to the Baidu map service to retrieve the geographical location.

However, if it receives a command index of 3, 4, or 5, SpyDealer will acknowledge that a command was received by sending back a specially formatted SMS response. All incoming SMS messages that contain commands will be aborted, which means the user will not be aware of these messages. However, other types of SMS messages will also be blocked if the malware is set to do so or the incoming number is in the blocking list.

SpyDealer creates a TCP server on the compromised device listening at port and waits for incoming commands. The command format and description are listed below in Table 4. The command data received by the client is encrypted by the server using Tiny Encryption Algorithm TEA Once the client receives a command, the malware decrypts the data Figure Each command starts with the command followed by a newline character and the base64 encoded arguments.

Table 5 details a full list of commands available through this channel.

One interesting command is named SendMsg. Previously, Android malware could fake an incoming SMS message by exploit the Smishing vulnerability , which was patched in Android 4. To achieve this effect in newer Android versions, SpyDealer first inserts an SMS message into the inbox and then posts a notification indicating an SMS message has arrived. To our knowledge, this is the first malware family that fakes an incoming SMS message in this way.

The default one is UDP. The duration argument specifies the duration of the video. All the sub-commands are detailed in Table 6. The data sent back to the remote server is encrypted using TEA algorithm.

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Because UDP is a sessionless protocol by design, there is no guarantee that all transmitted packets will be received by the destination without any loss. SpyDealer divides the original data into multiple groups and each group has no more than bytes data.

These groups are sent one by one and every transition is repeated three times. In order to restore the data at the server side, an additional identification code is added at the beginning of each grouped data. Hence, the format of the final group data is shown below:. Additionally, with root privilege, SpyDealer also tries to gather data from more than 40 common apps falling in different categories including social, communication, browser, mobile mail client, etc.

The targeted apps are listed in Table 7.

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The data to be collected is not only limited to database files, but also includes some configuration and other specific files. Table 8 listed some target apps and various directories, databases and files which the malware tries to access. An increasing number of apps encrypt data before storing it into databases, especially for some popular communication and social apps.

App developers do this to protect user data from malicious attacks like this one. To avoid this obstacle, starting in version 1. Figure 12 depicts the accessibility service configuration in which the package names of targeted apps are declared. The command used to enable the accessibility service is depicted in Figure Figure 13 Enable accessibility service silently via executing command with root privilege.

Usually, a user will click the notification to view the message, which brings the detail view to the front. SpyDealer is capable of surveilling a compromised victim through multiple means including recording phone call and surrounding audio, recording video, taking photos, capturing screenshots, and monitoring geographical locations. It takes these actions based on commands it receives from the command and control channels described above.

SpyDealer registers a PhoneStateListener to monitor the phone call status. Once there is an active phone call, the audio recording procedure is triggered. The recorded audio data is finally compressed in zip format and stored to. The script contains the instrumentation key that directs the data to your Application Insights resource.

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Deeper explanation of the script. There are several parameters you can set, though in most cases, you shouldn't need to. For example, you can disable or limit the number of Ajax calls reported per page view to reduce traffic. Or you can set debug mode to have telemetry move rapidly through the pipeline without being batched. To set these parameters, look for this line in the code snippet, and add more comma-separated items after it:. For a complete list of configuration parameters, please see the GitHub Page.

Some available parameters include:. Run your web app, use it a while to generate telemetry, and wait a few seconds. You can either run it using the F5 key on your development machine, or publish it and let users play with it. If you want to check the telemetry that a web app is sending to Application Insights, use your browser's debugging tools F12 on many browsers. Data is sent to dc. No data yet?