Rogue Android RAT emerges from the darkweb

Pierluigi Paganini January 13, 2021

Experts discovered an Android Remote Access Trojan, dubbed Rogue, that can allow to take over infected devices and steal user data.

Rogue is a new mobile RAT discovered by researchers from Check Point while investigating the activity of the darknet threat actors known as Triangulum and HeXaGoN Dev. Both actors are Android malware authors that are offering their malicious code on the darknet marketplaces.

Triangulum has been active since June 2017, he started as an amateur developer, but since then it has intensified its operations by developing a network of partnerships, making investments, and distributing malware to potential buyers.

Triangulum had purchased multiple projects created by HeXaGoN Dev. The experts pointed out that the combination of HeXaGon Dev’s programming skills and Triangulum’s social marketing skills clearly posed a legitimate threat.

The duo distributed multiple Android mobile malware, including cryptominers, keyloggers, and sophisticated P2P (Phone to Phone) Mobile RATs.

“Triangulum and HeXaGoN Dev then collaborated to create and introduce the Rogue malware to the darknet.” reads the post published by CheckPoint. “Rogue is part of the MRAT family (Mobile Remote Access Trojan). This type of malware can gain control over the host device and exfiltrate any kind of data, such as photos, location, contacts, and messages, to modify the files on the device and download additional malicious payloads.”

The RAT allows its operator to exfiltrate any kind of data (i.e. photos, messages, location, and contacts) from the infected device, but experts pointed out that it could also delete data.

Upon gaining all of the required permissions on the targeted device, the Rogue RAT will hide its icon from the device, while is all of the required permissions are not granted, it will repeatedly ask the user to grant them.

The malware also registers as a device administrator. If the victim attempts to revoke the admin permission, the malicious code will display an onscreen message “Are you sure to wipe all the data?” to scare the user.

Rogue leverages Google’s Firebase platform, which is a Google service for apps, to hide its activity. The malware uses Firebase to control send commands to the device and exfiltrate data.

The Rogue malware uses the following services implemented by Firebase:

  • “Cloud Messaging” to receive commands from the C&C.
  • “Realtime Database” to upload data from the device.
  • “Cloud Firestore” to upload files.

“In this research, CPR uncovered a fully active market that sells malicious mobile malware, living and flourishing on the dark net and other related web forums.” Check Point concludes.

“The story of the Rogue malware is an example of how mobile devices can be exploited. Similar to Triangulum, other threat actors are perfecting their craft and selling mobile malware across the dark Web – so we need to stay vigilant for new threats,”

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Pierluigi Paganini


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