Latest version of Xenomorph Android malware targets 400 banks

Pierluigi Paganini March 10, 2023

A new version of the Xenomorph Android malware includes a new automated transfer system framework and targets 400 banks.

The author of the Xenomorph Android malware, the Hadoken Security Group, continues to improve their malicious code.

In February 2022, researchers from ThreatFabric first spotted the Xenomorph malware, which was distributed via the official Google Play Store reaching over 50,000 installations.

The banking Trojan was used to target 56 European banks and steal sensitive information from the devices of their customers. The analysis of the code revealed the presence of not implemented features and the large amount of logging present, a circumstance that suggests that this threat is under active development.

Xenomorph shares overlaps with the Alien banking trojan, but it has functionalities radically different from the Alien’s one. 

The experts noticed that the was continuously improved during 2022 and was distributed in small campaigns. The operators first distributed the Android malware via the GymDrop dropper operation, later the malicious code was also distributed via the Zombinder operation.

Experts warn that a new variant recently discovered, tracked as Xenomorph.C, was significantly improved.

The new variant supports a new automated transfer system (ATS) framework and can target over 400 banks and financial institutions mainly from Spain, Turkey, Poland, the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, UAE, and India

“This new version of the malware adds many new capabilities to an already feature rich Android Banker, most notably the introduction of a very extensive runtime engine powered by Accessibility services, which is used by actors to implement a complete ATS framework. With these new features, Xenomorph is now able to completely automate the whole fraud chain, from infection to funds exfiltration, making it one of the most advanced and dangerous Android Malware trojans in circulation.” reads the report published by Threat Fabric. “In addition, the samples identified by ThreatFabric featured configurations with Target lists made of more than 400 banking and financial institutions, including several cryptocurrency wallets, with an increase of more than 6 times with comparison to its previous variants, including financial institutions from all continents.”

The ATS framework allows operators to automate the exfiltration of credentials, check account balances, conduct transactions, and steal money from target apps without human interaction from an operator.

The researchers explained that the scripts are received in JSON format, then are processed, and converted into a list of operations to be executed by the engine on the device.

“The engine used by Xenomorph stands out from its competition thanks to the extensive selection of possible actions that are programmable and can be included in ATS scripts, in addition to a system that allows for conditional execution and action prioritization.” continues the report.

The ATS framework is also able to extract MFA codes from third-party apps, such as Google’s authenticator application.


The experts also noticed that the authors set up a website to advertise this Android malware-as-a-service, a circumstance that confirms their intentions of entering the MaaS landscape.


The latest Xenomorph latest version also supports Cookie stealer capabilities.

“Session Cookies allow users to maintain open sessions on their browsers without having to re-input their credentials repeatedly. A malicious actor in possession on a valid session cookie has effectively access to the victim’s logged in web session.” continues the report. “Xenomorph, just like the other malware families previously mentioned, starts a browser with JavaScript interface enabled. The malware uses this browser to display the targeted page to the victim, with the intent of tricking users into logging into the service whose cookie Xenomorph is trying to extract.”

The Xenomorph malware focuses on the theft of PII such as usernames and passwords using overlay attacks.

The malware also targets popular cryptocurrency wallets, including Binance, BitPay, Coinbase, Gemini, and KuCoin.

“Xenomorph v3 is capable of performing the whole fraud chain, from infection, with the aid of Zombinder, to the automated transfer using ATS, passing by PII exfiltration using Keylogging and Overlay attacks. In addition, the Threat Actor behind this malware family has started actively publicizing their product, indicating a clear intention to expand the reach of this malware.” concludes the report. “ThreatFabric expects Xenomorph to increase in volume, with the likelihood of being one again distributed via droppers on the Google Play Store.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Xenomorph Android malware)

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