Many Android devices had pre-installed backdoor: Google

Earlier this year, Forbes reported how a banking Trojan called Triada had been found on a bunch of brand new budget Android smartphones. Google has now confirmed that threat actors did, indeed, manage to compromise Android smartphones with the installation of a backdoor as part of a supply chain attack.

Two years later, on Thursday, Google has now admitted that criminals in 2017 indeed managed to get an advanced backdoor preinstalled on Android devices, even before these left the factories of manufacturers.

The list of affected devices includes Leagoo M5 Plus, Leagoo M8, Nomu S10 and Nomu S20.

To understand what has happened here, we need to go back to 2016 when Kaspersky Lab researchers first uncovered what they called one of the most advanced mobile Trojans Kaspersky malware analysts had ever seen. They named that Trojan "Triada" and explained how it existed mainly in the smartphone's random access memory (RAM) using root privileges to replace system files with malicious ones. Android phones were spotted to have Triada as a preloaded backdoor in 2017.

The firm, Dr. Web’s, researchers had found Triada embedded into one of the OS libraries and located in the system section. Not just that, the Trojan couldn’t be detected or deleted using standard methods.

Triada had, the researchers found, used a call in the Android framework log function instead. In other words, the infected devices had a backdoor installed. This meant that every time an app, any app, attempted to log something the function was called and that backdoor code executed. The Triada Trojan could now execute code in pretty much any app context courtesy of this backdoor; a backdoor that came factory-fitted.

The Mountain View, California-headquartered company initially removed Triada samples from all Android devices using Google Play Protect. But in 2017, it was found that Triada evolved and ultimately became a preloaded backdoor on Android devices. Notably, the latest phones aren't likely to be affected by what has been discovered by Google. The vulnerability did have an impact on various models in the past, though.

Turla Mosquito Hacker Group shift to Open Source Malware


Turla, a hacking group that has been active for over ten years and one of the largest known state-sponsored cyberespionage groups, is showing a shift in its behaviour from using its own creations to leveraging the open source exploitation framework Metasploit before dropping the custom Mosquito backdoor.

While this is not the first time Turla is using generic tools, researchers at ESET say that this is the first time the group has used Metasploit, which is an open-source penetration testing project, as a first stage backdoor.

“In the past, we have seen the group using open-source password dumpers such as Mimikatz,” ESET Research said in a blog post. “However, to our knowledge, this is the first time Turla has used Metasploit as a first stage backdoor, instead of relying on one of its own tools such as Skipper.”

The typical targets of the attacks remain to be embassies and consulates in Eastern Europe and the group is still using a fake Flash installer to install both the Turla backdoor and the legitimate Adobe Flash Player.

According to the researchers, the compromise occurs when the user downloads a Flash installer from get.adobe.com through HTTP, allowing Turla operators to replace the legitimate Flash executable with a trojanized version by intercepting traffic on a node between the end machine and the Adobe servers.


“We believe the fifth possibility to be excluded, as, to the best of our knowledge, Adobe/Akamai was not compromised,” the post went on to say, assuring that the Adobe website does not seem to have been compromised.

Researchers found, at the beginning of March 2018, that there were some changes in the Mosquito campaign. Where previously, the attack was carried out by dropping a loader and the main backdoor using a fake Flash installer, there is now a change in the way the final backdoor is dropped.


“Turla’s campaign still relies on a fake Flash installer but, instead of directly dropping the two malicious DLLs, it executes a Metasploit shellcode and drops, or downloads from Google Drive, a legitimate Flash installer,” the post read.

The shellcode then downloads a Meterpreter, which gives the attacker the control of the compromised machine, and finally places the final Mosquito backdoor.


Once the attack is executed, the fake Flash installer downloads a legitimate Flash installer from a Google Drive URL and runs it to deceive the user into thinking that the installation went smoothly.

Researchers also say that because of the use of Metasploit, it can be assumed that there is an operator controlling the exploitation manually. More information on Turla can be found in ESET’s whitepaper as well as their recent report on Turla’s change in attacks.


WordPress Plugins containing Backdoor distributed via phishing emails

What would you do when you receive an email offering Pro version of Wordpress plugin for free, if you are a WordPress user? Don't get tempted by such kind of emails, they also give malicious code for free!

Sucuri reported about a phishing emails asking their clients to download Pro-version of "All in one SEO Pack" WordPress plugin.  The email claims that the plugin is $79.00 worth and giving it for free.

"You have been chosen by WordPress to take part in our Customer Rewarding Program.  You are the 23rd from 100 uniques winners." The phishing email reads.

Credit : Sucuri

The download link provided in the email is not linked to WordPress plugin store, it is linked to a zip file hosted in a compromised website.

Security researchers at Sucuri analyzed the plugin and found out that it is modified with a Backdoor which gives attackers full access to the server.

The malicious code in the plugin replaces the index.php file with the malicious code retrieved from the attacker's server.  So, when user visit the site, they either redirected to SPAM sites or to Exploit kits where it will infect the visitor's system.

More than 400 web servers infected with Linux/Cdorked.A Backdoor


Last month, ESET analyzed a new sophisticated and stealthy Apache backdoor "Linux/Cdorked.A" that drive traffic to malicious pages.

Security researchers at ESET observed that more than 400 web servers infected with the backdoor "Linux/Cdorked.A" including 50 Top ranked websites.

In their recent report, ESET noted that the Lighttpd and nginx web servers also are affected by this backdoor.

"we found it will not deliver malicious content if the victim’s IP address is in a very long list of blacklisted IP ranges, nor if the victim’s internet browser’s language is set to Japanese, Finnish, Russian and Ukrainian, Kazakh or Belarusian."  The report reads.

Researchers still not able to identify how this malicious software was deployed on the affected web servers.

The technical details are available at WeLiveSecurity

Backdoor R2D2 ~Government Trojan discovered by Chaos Computer Club

The Famous European hacker club, Chaos Computer Club(CCC) discovered the backdoor Trojan horse capable of spying on online activity and recording Skype internet calls which, it says, is used by the German police force.

For some years, German courts have allowed the police to deploy a Trojan known colloquially as "Bundestrojaner" ("State Trojan") to record Skype conversations, if they have legal permission for a wiretap.

But the CCC's claim is controversial, as the Trojan they have uncovered has more snooping capabilities than that. For instance, it includes functionality to download updates from the internet, to run code remotely and even to allow remote access to the computer - something specifically in violation of Germany's laws.

The malware has the following of functionality as per the Sophos's analysis:
* The Trojan can eavesdrop on several communication applications - including Skype, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.
* The Trojan can log keystrokes in Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and SeaMonkey.
* The Trojan can take JPEG screenshots of what appears on users' screens and record Skype audio calls.
* The Trojan attempts to communicate with a remote website.

A CCC spokesperson expressed the group's concern at the discovery:

"This refutes the claim that an effective separation of just wiretapping internet telephony and a full-blown trojan is possible in practice – or even desired. Our analysis revealed once again that law enforcement agencies will overstep their authority if not watched carefully. In this case functions clearly intended for breaking the law were implemented in this malware: they were meant for uploading and executing arbitrary code on the targeted system."

Was the Trojan horse really written by the German authorities?
We have no way of knowing if the Trojan was written by the German state - and so far, the German authorities aren't confirming any involvement.

The comments in the Trojan's binary code could just as easily be planted by someone mischievously wanting the Trojan to be misidentified as the infamous the Bundestrojaner.

What we can say is that the phrase "0zapftis" has raised some eyebrows amongst the German speakers at SophosLabs. It's a play on a Bavarian phrase "The barrel is open", said by the mayor of Munich when he opens the first barrel of beer at the Oktoberfest.

But there certainly have been claims of German state-sponsored cyber-spying in the past. For instance, in 2008, there were claims that the BND - Germany's foreign intelligence service - deployed spyware to monitor the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Afghanistan.