Spam link sends Android users to trojan proxy

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Mar 18, 2013

Meanwhile, desktop users sent to (relatively harmless) weight-loss site.

Links found in certain spam emails which redirect desktop users to a phony weight-loss website, have been found to send mobile users to a trojan proxy, according to researchers at Lookout.

Clicking links in spam emails falls into the "don't try this at home" category, but if you do so in a safe environment, as I have done, you will notice that quite a lot of spam (particularly spam sent from compromised webmail accounts) links to sites advertising weight-loss products and vaguely resembling Fox News.

Given the amount of spam that links to exploit kits such as 'Blackhole', linking to a weight-loss site seems relatively harmless. However, things may be rather different if you click the link on a mobile device.

Researchers at mobile security firm Lookout have discovered that the final destination of these links depends on the type of browser used: while desktop browsers redirect to the weight-loss site, mobile browsers are sent to a download of the 'NotCompatible' trojan. When installed, this turns the device into a proxy. When it was first discovered last year, the proxy was used by crooks to buy concert tickets and to make purchases in the Apple Store, probably using stolen credit cards.

We have been able to confirm Lookout's claims. Somewhat worryingly, on the device we tested, we were not prompted about the download, but merely received a notification confirming that a 'Security Update' had been downloaded. As users have become more security-aware, even on mobile devices, many may ignore this alert, believing it to be something positive.

More at Lookout's blog here.

Posted on 18 March 2013 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: The modality of mortality in domain names

Domains play a crucial role in most cyber attacks, from the very advanced to the very mundane. Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Paul Vixie (Farsight Security) who undertook the first systematic study into the lifetimes of newly registered domains.…

VB2018 paper: Analysing compiled binaries using logic

Constraint programming is a lesser-known technique that is becoming increasingly popular among malware analysts. In a paper presented at VB2018 Thaís Moreira Hamasaki presented an overview of the technique and explained how it can be applied to the…

Virus Bulletin encourages experienced speakers and newcomers alike to submit proposals for VB2019

With a little less than a month before the deadline of the call for papers for VB2019, Virus Bulletin encourages submissions from experienced speakers and newcomers alike.

VB2018 paper: Internet balkanization: why are we raising borders online?

At VB2018 in Montreal, Ixia researcher Stefan Tanase presented a thought-provoking paper on the current state of the Internet and the worrying tendency towards raising borders and restricting the flow of information. Today we publish both his paper…

The malspam security products miss: banking and email phishing, Emotet and Bushaloader

The set-up of the VBSpam test lab gives us a unique insight into the kinds of emails that are more likely to bypass email filters. This week we look at the malspam that was missed: banking and email phishing, Emotet and Bushaloader.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.