Feeds

Tibetan and Uyghur activists targeted with Android malware

Hmm ... who'd want to do that?

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab are reporting that Tibetan activists are being hit by a highly targeted form of Android malware that seeks to record their contacts, call logs, SMS messages, geolocation, and phone data.

The attack started with the March 24 hacking of an email account belonging to an activist seeking national independence for Tibet.

All of the activist's contacts then received a message urging them to check out details from the forthcoming World Uyghur Congress meeting being held in Geneva to discuss human rights. An Android Package (APK) file containing a software nasty was enclosed with the email.

The malware, dubbed Backdoor.AndroidOS.Chuli.a by the researchers, launches what appears to be a standard Android app that apparently contains a message from "Dolkun lsa, chairman of the executive committee of the Word [sic] Uyghur Congress." However, the app also installs a bugging program that's controlled by SMS.

When the correct control message comes in via SMS, the malware sends the information, encoded in Base 64, to a command and control (C&C) server running Windows Server 2003 and configured in Chinese. The commands to control the code contain Chinese characters, and the C&C servers are located in Los Angeles, but the commands travel via a domain registered to a Chinese firm.

"The current attack took advantage of the compromise of a high-profile Tibetan activist. It is perhaps the first in a new wave of targeted attacks aimed at Android users," said the Kaspersky Lab research team.

"So far, the attackers relied entirely on social engineering to infect the targets. History has shown us that, in time, these attacks will use zero-day vulnerabilities, exploits or a combination of techniques."

While there's no direct evidence that the attack code is being run by the Chinese government, it does seem from the evidence that the malware comes from the Middle Kingdom. Additionally, one has to consider who would want to track down and monitor Tibetan and Uyghur activists.

Based on Occam's Razor, the evidence suggests the Chinese government is up to its old tricks. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?