SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Mobile malware creation is now as easy as downloading an app

FYI, this story is more than a year old

Mobile malware creation is as easy as downloading an app and potential criminals don't even need to write a single line of code, according to a new blog from Symantec.

Researchers have discovered an app that can help criminals create their own customised Android malware through Trojan Development Kits (TDKs).

While similar apps have been spotted in the wild, the latest offering has is being distributed through hacking forums and through a popular Chinese social messaging service.

The app allows users to design their malware and customise aspects including the proposed ransom method, unlock key, type of ransom animation, custom maths to randomise the code and the icon that the malware uses.

According to Symantec blogger Dinesh Venkatesan, the automation of malware variants has been helped by a ‘Device Aided Malware Engineering' tool model, which makes malware creation simpler than ever.

Venkatesan says that app's interface isn't different to any other Android app – the only difference it its purpose.

“Once all of the information has been filled in, the user hits the “create” button and, if they haven't already done so, is asked to subscribe to the service. The app allows the user to start an online chat with the app's developer where they can arrange a one-time payment. Once the user has subscribed, they can continue with the process, making as many ransomware variants as they desire,” Venkatesan explains in the blog.

Once created, the malware is saved in external storage and is ready to infect devices. Criminals can spread the malware however they like; those who are tricked into downloading the malware are now faced with a locked device and a ransom.

“The malware created using this automation process follows the typical Lockdroid behavior of locking the device's screen with a SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW and displaying a text field for the victim to enter the unlock code,” Venkatesan continues.

The Android.Lockdroid.E Trojan has been around since 2014. It locks Android devices and demands a ransom .

While the malware creators appear to be aimed at Chinese-speaking users so far, Venkatesan says it would not be difficult to create versions for different languages.

This new wave of malware development kits lowers the bar for aspiring cyber criminals who have very little technical knowledge.

However Venkatesan points out that professional malware creators could also use the kits as supplementary ways to continue their trade. Symantec expects the number of mobile ransomware variants to increase as TDKs gain traction.

Symantec offers the following tips to avoid downloading Trojans and malware:

  • Keep your software up to date
  • Refrain from downloading apps from unfamiliar sites
  • Only install apps from trusted sources
  • Pay close attention to the permissions requested by an app
  • Install a suitable mobile security app in order to protect your device and data
  • Make frequent backups of important data
Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Awards
A/NZ finalists for IDC's Future Enterprise Awards revealed
Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, Woolworths Group, Hamilton City Council and Virtus Health are amongst some of the big names.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Spike in demand for cybersecurity training amid skills shortage
"Organisations cannot just rely on cybersecurity professionals to safeguard the businesses’ infrastructure and protect their data."
Story image
Malware
OpenText reveals nastiest malware of 2022, with Emotet at the top
OpenText threat intelligence experts combed through the data, analysed different behaviours, and determined which malicious payloads are the nastiest.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The growing threat of CEO fraud and how to mitigate it
By posing as the CEO or other senior figures, attackers guarantee that malicious emails get employees' attention. Many employees are reluctant to question a request from their CEO, so they usually provide the information.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Swift successfully pilots its Securities View capability
The new capability significantly increases transparency in post-trade processing while preventing costly settlement fails; it will be widely available in 2023.
Story image
Ransomware
Commonwealth tackling rising cybercrime threat in Asia
Ransomware, identity theft, and virtual security attacks identified as growing threats to security and economic growth.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
Distributed Denial of Service
Sysdig reveals a loss of $53 for every $1 cryptojackers gain
The 2022 Sysdig Cloud Native Threat Report breaks down supply chain attacks against containers and how geopolitical conflict influences attacker behaviours.
Story image
Microsoft
A deep dive into a Corporate Espionage operation
In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the level of sophistication of cyberattacks, mostly thanks to the introduction of the profit-sharing business model for financially motivated threat actors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."
Story image
Partner Programmes
Trellix set to launch new unified partner program in 2023
"We co-developed the Xtend program with our partners to create the right business model for deploying Trellix XDR."
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Firewall
Barracuda accelerates growth in its data protection business
Barracuda cloud-to-cloud backup protects against evolving cyber threats, such as ransomware, and is now transactable in the Azure Marketplace.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.