Read more: Android Spyware Variant Snoops on WhatsApp, Telegram MessagesResearchers say they have uncovered a new Android spyware variant with an updated command-and-control communication strategy and extended surveillance capabilities that snoops on social media apps WhatsApp and Telegram.
The malware, Android/SpyC32.A, is currently being used in active campaigns targeting victims in the Middle East. It is a new variant of an existing malware operated by threat group APT-C-23 (also known as Two-Tailed Scorpion and Desert Scorpion). APT-C-23 is known to utilize both Windows and Android components, and has previously targeted victims in the Middle East with apps in order to compromise Android smartphones.
“Our research shows that the APT-C-23 group is still active, enhancing its mobile toolset and running new operations,” according to researchers with ESET in a report released Wednesday. “Android/SpyC32.A – the group’s newest spyware version – features several improvements making it more dangerous to victims.” [...]
The detected malware samples were disguised as a legitimate messaging app offered through Google Play. The app, called WeMessage, is malicious, researchers said, and uses entirely different graphics and doesn’t seem to impersonate the legitimate app other than by name. Researchers said, this malicious app does not have any real functionality, and only served as bait for installing the spyware.
Researchers also said they don’t know how this fake WeMessage app was distributed. Previous versions of the malware were distributed in apps via a fake Android app store, called the “DigitalApps” store. The fake app store distributed both legitimate apps as well as fake apps posing as AndroidUpdate, Threema and Telegram. However, researchers said that the fake WeMessage app was not on the “DigitalApps” store.
Full report by researchers from ESET: APT‑C‑23 group evolves its Android spyware | WeLiveSecurity