Researchers of Heimdal Security, analyzing an SMS message sent to random mobile numbers and locations, have discovered a new Android Malware, Mazar BOT.
The SMS / MMS in question arrives with the following contents:
You have received a multimedia message from +[country code] [sender number] Follow the link http: //www.mmsforyou [.] Net / mms.apk to view the message.
If the APK runs on an Android device, then it will ask administrator rights on the victim’s device.
This will allow the attackers to:
- Gain boot persistence to help survive device restarts
- Send and Read your SMS messages
- Make Calls to your contacts
- Read the phone’s state
- Plague phone’s control keys
- Infect your Chrome browser
- Change phone settings
- Force the phone into sleep mode
- Query the network status
- Access the Internet
- Wipe your device’s storage (the most critical capabilities of all)
Once installed, the malware retrieves,unpacks and runs the TOR application, which will then be used to connect to a .onion server in the darkweb (http://pc35hiptpcwqezgs.Onion) and after sends an automated SMS 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.
Mazar BOT would seem to be the first Android malware with the ability to remain covert by using TOR to hide its communication.
How to protect yourself?
Heimdal Security suggests:
- NEVER click on links in SMS or MMS messages on your phone: Android phones are notoriously vulnerable and current security product dedicated to this OS are not nearly as effective as they are on computers.
- Go to Settings > Security and make sure this option is turned OFF: “Unknown Sources – Allow installation of apps from sources other than the playstore.”
- Install a top antivirus for Android. It may not be enough to protect your phone, but it’s certainly good to have.
- Do not connect to unknown and unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots. There are plenty of dangers lurking out there, and following some common-sense steps to keep yourself safe from them is the best thing to do. Also, keep your Wi-Fi turned OFF when you don’t use it.
- Install a VPN on your smartphone and use constantly. It’s good for both your privacy and your security.
- Maintain a cautious attitude at all times. Android security has not kept up with the high adoption rate of smartphones running the OS, and users may have to wait a long time until better security solutions appear. Until then, a careful evaluation of what happens on your phone is a very good safeguard.
Personally, I think the last point is really important: as in most cases, without user intervention, the malware can not infect the terminal.
It therefore constitutes a perfect PEBKAC.