NCC’s CSIRT warns against banking app-targeting malware

The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) says it had discovered a newly-hatched malicious software that steals users’ banking app login credentials on Android devices.

NCC’s Director of Public Affairs (DPA), Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja.

Adinde explained that the main intent of this malware was to steal credentials, combined with the use of SMS and notification interception to log-in and use potential two-factor authentication tokens.

He said, according to a security advisory from the NCC CSIRT, the malicious software called “Xenomorph”, found to target 56 financial institutions across Europe, had high impact and high vulnerability rate.

“Xenomorph is propagated by an application that was slipped into Google Play store and masquerading as a legitimate application called “Fast Cleaner” ostensibly meant to clear junk, increase device speed and optimise battery.

“In reality, this app is only a means by which the Xenomorph Trojan could be propagated easily and efficiently.

“Fast Cleaner was disseminated before the malware was placed on the remote server, making it hard for Google to determine that such an app is being used for malicious actions.

“This is to avoid early detection or being denied access to the Playstore,” he said.

He further explained that once up and running on a victim’s device, Xenomorph can harvest device information and SMS, intercept notifications and new SMS, perform overlay attacks and prevent users from uninstalling it.

“The threat also asks for Accessibility Services privileges, which allow it to grant itself further permissions.

“The CSIRT said the malware also steals victims’ banking credentials by overlaying fake login pages on top of legitimate ones.

“Considering that it can also intercept messages and notifications, it allows its operators to bypass SMS-based two-factor authentication and log into the victims’ accounts without alerting them.

“The Fast Cleaner app has now been removed from the Play Store but not before it garnered 50,000+ downloads,” he said.

The DPA said that the commission had advised telecom consumers to be on alert in order not to fall victims of this manipulation.

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He urged telecom consumers and other Internet users, particularly those using Android-powered devices, to use trusted Antivirus solutions and update them regularly to their latest definitions.

He also implored consumers and other stakeholders to always update banking applications to their most recent versions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Xenomorph has been found to target 28 banking apps from Spain, 12 from Italy, 9 from Belgium, and 7 from Portugal.

Cryptocurrency wallets and general-purpose applications like emailing services are also some of the target.

 

(NAN)

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