The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team, CSIRT, has warned Nigerians to be wary of a newly-hatched malicious software that steals users’ banking app login credentials on Android devices.

According to a security advisory from the NCC CSIRT, the malicious software, called “Xenomorph,” found to target 56 financial institutions in Europe, has a high impact and high vulnerability rate.

According to NCC, the main intent of this malware is to steal credentials, combined with the use of SMS and notification interception to log in and use potential 2-factor authentication tokens.

The malware, Xenomorph disguises as an app, ’Fast Cleaner”

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

NCC stated that to avoid early detection or being denied access to the PlayStore, ‘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.

According to NCC, once up and running on a victim’s device, the malware, Xenomorph, can harvest device information and Short Messaging Service (SMS), intercept notifications and new SMS messages, perform overlay attacks, and prevent users from uninstalling it. The virus 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.”

Story: Asma’u Sani


February 28, 2022