Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Trojan Alert! Banking app on an Android phone? Beware of this

Trojan Alert! Banking app on an Android phone? Beware of this

FakeApp is a known Android malware app that has been hijacking phones to insert ads and steal information since 2012, according to ZDNet.

The Android banking trojan, dubbed Android.banker.A2f8a, was first observed and its activities tracked by alert researchers at security firm Quick Heal. The malware reinforces this even after the fact by displaying a screen of the legitimate app complete with the user's current location.

The report lists a number of targeted banking apps which, includes Axis Mobile, HDFC Bank MobileBanking, SBI Anywhere Personal, HDFC Bank MobileBanking LITE, iMobile by ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank GO Mobile+, Abhay by IDBI Bank, IDBI Bank GO Mobile, IDBI Bank mPassbook, Baroda mPassbook, Union Bank Mobile Banking and Union Bank Commercial Clients.

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Like the wooden horse from Greek mythology, the malware is disguised as a legitimate app. Android.banker.A9480 is distributed through third-party app stores disguised a Flash Player app. The Flash Player app is a popular target for cybercriminals due to its prevalence.

The fake app asks users for administrative rights immediately after setup and even if a user initially denies admin access, the app continues to show pop-up windows until the user accepts. As soon it finds one of the targeted apps, it starts sending fake notifications which resemble the ones from the targetted apps. If the user clicks on the fake notification, the he is taken to a fake login screen where the app steals the user's login credentials and password.

The typical recommendations apply-Symantec's advice is to make sure your software is up to date, refrain from downloading apps from unfamiliar sites, pay close attention to the permissions that apps request, make frequent backups, and of course it pitches installing a mobile security app such as Norton.

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Furthermore, the malicious application has the ability to intercept all incoming and outgoing SMSs from the infected device with which the attackers bypass the two-factor verification. The public relations contact said that systems were already in place to help users "detect and block" unauthorised login attempts using hijacked passwords.

In order to stay safe from this and other banking trojans, users should avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores or from links provided in texts or emails.

Thankfully, the errant software can not be found on the Play Store and therefore unless you're downloading apps from other sources, which is often not a good idea, you should be safe.

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Install a reliable security app on your device and updating them regularly.

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