Android malware BrazKing returns as a stealthier banking trojan


​The BrazKing Android banking trojan has returned with dynamic banking overlays and a brand new implementation trick that permits it to function with out requesting dangerous permissions.

A brand new malware pattern was analyzed by IBM Trusteer researchers who discovered it outdoors the Play Retailer, on websites the place individuals find yourself after receiving smishing (SMS) messages.

These HTTPS websites warn the potential sufferer that they’re utilizing an outdated Android model and supply an APK that can allegedly replace them to the most recent model.

Warning message urging users to click
Warning message urging customers to click on
Supply: IBM

Solely asking for a single permission

If the person approves “downloads from unknown sources,” the malware is dropped on the system and requests entry to the ‘Accessibility Service’.

This permission is abused to seize screenshots and keystrokes with out requesting any extra permissions that will danger elevating suspicions.

Extra particularly, the accessibility service is utilized by BrazKing for the next malicious exercise:

  • Dissect the display programmatically as a substitute of taking screenshots in image format. This may be accomplished programmatically however on a non-rooted system that will require the specific approval of the person.
  • Keylogger capabilities by studying the views on the display.
  • RAT capabilities—BrazKing can manipulate the goal banking software by tapping buttons or keying textual content in.
  • Learn SMS with out the ‘android.permission.READ_SMS’ permission by studying textual content messages that seem on the display. This may give actors entry to 2FA codes.
  • Learn contact lists with out ‘android.permission.READ_CONTACTS’ permission by studying the contacts on the “Contacts” display.

Beginning on Android 11, Google has categorized the listing of put in apps as delicate info, so any malware that makes an attempt to fetch it’s flagged by Play Defend as malicious.

It is a new downside for all banking overlaying trojans that want to find out which financial institution apps are put in on the contaminated system to serve matching login screens.

BrazKing not makes use of the ‘getinstalledpackages’ API request because it used to however as a substitute makes use of the display dissection function to view what apps are put in on the contaminated system.

In the case of overlaying, BrazKing now does it with out the ‘System_Alert_Window’ permission, so it could actually’t overlay a faux display on high of the unique app as different trojans do.

As a substitute, it hundreds the faux display as an URL from the attacker’s server in a webview window, added from throughout the accessibility service. This covers the app and all its home windows however does not drive an exit from it.

Overlaying through the Accessibility service
Overlaying by the Accessibility service
Supply: IBM

When detecting the login to a web-based financial institution, as a substitute of displaying built-in overlays, the malware will now connect with the command and management server to obtain the proper login overlay to show.

This dynamic overlay system makes it simpler for the risk actors to steal credentials for a broader vary of banks. Serving the overlays from the attacker’s servers additionally permits them to replace the login screens as essential to coincide with adjustments on the legit banking apps or websites or add assist for brand spanking new banks.

Obfuscation and resistance to deletion

The brand new model of BrazKing protects inner sources by making use of an XOR operation utilizing a hardcoded key after which additionally encodes them with Base64.

Analysts can rapidly reverse these steps, however they nonetheless assist the malware go unnoticed when nested within the sufferer’s system.

Obfuscation BrazKing strings
Obfuscation BrazKing strings
Supply: IBM

If the person makes an attempt to delete the malware, it rapidly faucets on the ‘Again’ or ‘House’ buttons to stop the motion.

The identical trick is used when the person tries to open an antivirus app, hoping to scan and take away the malware throughout the safety instrument.

BrazKing’s evolution exhibits that malware authors rapidly adapt to ship stealthier variations of their instruments as Android’s safety tightens up.

The flexibility to grab 2FA codes, credentials, and take screenshots with out hoarding permissions makes the trojan much more potent than it was once, so be very cautious with APK downloads outdoors the Play Retailer.

In keeping with the IBM report, BrazKing seems to be operated by native risk teams, as it’s circulating on Portuguese-speaking web sites.