Malware targets all Android phones -- except those in Russia

The MazarBOT appears aimed at compromising online bank accounts

A malware program for Android seen advertised on Russian underground forums in the last few months appears to have made its first big debut.

MazarBOT can take full control of a phone and appears to be targeting online banking customers, wrote Peter Kruse, an IT security expert and founder of CSIS Security Group, based in Copenhagen, which does deep investigations into online crime for financial services companies.

"Until now, MazarBOT has been advertised for sale on several websites on the Dark Web, but this is the first time we’ve seen this code to be deployed in active attacks," Kruse wrote.

CSIS saw a "swarm" of SMSes sent to random phone number in Denmark on Friday," Kruse wrote. The messages contained a link to an Android package file, which is MazarBOT.

MazarBOT will stop installing itself if it detects an Android device that is running within Russia, perhaps to avoid drawing attention from the country's authorities.

"CSIS was not surprised to observe that the malware cannot be installed on smartphones located in Russia," Kruse wrote.

If phones pass the location test, MazarBOT installs Tor, short for The Onion Router. Tor is a network of distributed nodes that provide greater privacy by encrypting a person’s browsing traffic and routing that traffic through random proxy servers.

The malware then sends an SMS saying "Thank you" along with the device's location to a phone number with Iran's country code.

MazarBOT can exert a lot of control over a phone. It can open up a backdoor to monitor a device, send SMSes to premium rate numbers and read two-factor authentication codes send by SMS.

The malware also has a remote debugging function, which Kruse wrote allows "for a variety of advanced attacks on the network" that a particular Android device uses.

"MazarBOT is pretty advanced and nasty Android malware," Kruse wrote. "Several factors indicate that it was designed as malware primarily targeting online banking customers. In fact, it will most likely succeed in circumventing most online banking protection solutions."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?