Kaspersky Lab Discovers New Android and iOS Mobile Malware; Maps HackingTeam’s Command and Control Servers
Woburn, MA – June 24, 2014 - Today, Kaspersky Lab published a new
research report mapping a massive international
infrastructure used to control ‘Remote Control System’ (RCS) malware implants,
and identifying previously undiscovered mobile Trojans that work on both Android
and iOS. These Trojans are part of the allegedly ‘legal’ spyware tool, RCS, aka
Galileo, developed by the Italian company, HackingTeam.
list of victims indicated in separate research reports, conducted independently
by Kaspersky Lab and Citizen Lab,
includes activists and human rights advocates, as well as journalists and
Kaspersky Lab has been working
on different security approaches to locate Galileo’s command and control (C&C)
servers around the globe. For the identification process, Kaspersky Lab experts
relied on special indicators and connectivity data obtained by existing reverse
During the latest analysis,
Kaspersky Lab’s researchers were able to map the presence of more than 320 RCS
C&C servers in 40+ countries. The majority of the servers were found in the
United States, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Although in the past it had
been known that HackingTeam’s mobile Trojans for iOS and Android existed,
nobody had actually identified them before or noticed them being used in
attacks. Kaspersky Lab has been researching the RCS malware for a couple of
years now. Earlier this year, they were able to identify certain samples of
mobile modules that matched the other RCS malware configuration profiles in their
collection. During the recent research, new variants of samples were also received
from victims through the Kaspersky Lab cloud-based KSN network. In addition, the
Company’s experts worked closely with Morgan Marquis-Boire from Citizen Lab,
who has been researching the HackingTeam malware set extensively.
The operators behind the Galileo
RCS built a specific malicious implant for every concrete target. Once the
sample is ready, the attacker delivers it to the mobile device of the victim.
Some of the known infection vectors include spearphishing via social engineering
– often coupled with exploits, including zero-days –and local infections via
USB cables while synchronizing mobile devices.
One of the major discoveries
has been learning precisely how a Galileo RCS mobile Trojan infects an iPhone,
which first requires the device to be jailbroken. However, non-jailbroken iPhones
can become vulnerable too because an attacker can run a jailbreaking tool like ‘Evasi0n’
via a previously infected computer and conduct a remote jailbreak, followed by the
infection. To avoid infection risks, Kaspersky Lab recommends that people
refrain from jailbreaking their iPhones, and also constantly update the iOS on the
device to the latest version.
The RCS mobile modules are meticulously
designed to operate in a discreet manner, for instance by paying close
attention to the mobile device’s battery life. This is implemented through
carefully customized spying capabilities, or special triggers. For example, an
audio recording may start only when a victim is connected to a particular Wi-Fi
network, or when that person changes the SIM card, or while the device is
charging its battery power.
Overall, the RCS mobile Trojans
are capable of performing a variety of surveillance functions, including reporting
the target’s location, taking photos, copying events from the device’s calendar,
and registering new SIM cards inserted in the infected device. It can also
intercept phone calls and SMS messages, including chat messages sent from specific
applications such as Viber, WhatsApp and Skype.
Golovanov, Principal Security Researcher Kaspersky
Lab “The presence of these servers
in a given country doesn’t mean to say they are used by that particular
country’s law enforcement agencies. However, it makes sense for the users of
RCS to deploy C&Cs in locations they control – where there are minimal
risks of cross-border legal issues or server seizures.”
About Kaspersky Lab Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of
endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four
vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than
16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and
provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and
consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United
Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the
globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
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* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating
Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2012. The rating was published
in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2013–2017 Forecast and 2012
Vendor Shares (IDC #242618, August 2013). The report ranked software vendors
according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2012.