AhRat Android RAT was concealed in iRecorder app in Google Play

ESET found a new remote access trojan (RAT), dubbed AhRat, on the Google Play Store that was concealed in an Android screen recording app.

ESET researchers have discovered an Android app on Google Play that was hiding a new remote access trojan (RAT) dubbed AhRat.

The app, named iRecorder – Screen Recorder, has more than 50,000 installs. The app was initially uploaded to the Google Play store without malicious features on September 19th, 2021. Threat actors introduced the support for malicious functionalities in version 1.3.8 which was uploaded on August 2022.

The app was designed to extract microphone recordings and stealing files with specific extensions, a circumstance that suggests it was involved in an espionage campaign. Researchers have not detected the AhRat anywhere else in the wild.

The AhRat is a customization of the open-source AhMyth Android RAT (remote access trojan). The AhMyth RAT supports various malicious functions, including exfiltrating call logs, contacts, and text messages, obtaining a list of files on the device, tracking the device location, sending SMS messages, recording audio, and taking pictures. However, ESET observed only a limited set of malicious features derived from the original AhMyth RAT in both versions of AhRat analyzed by its experts. 

ESET immediately notified Google that quickly removed the iRecorder app from its store. The experts pointed out that the app can also be found in alternative and unofficial Android stores.

ESET was not able to link the AhRat malware to any known threat actors. The researchers only reported that previously, the open-source AhMyth was employed by the Pakistan-linked APT group Transparent Tribe (aka APT36).

“The AhRat research serves as a good example of how an initially legitimate application can transform into a malicious one, even after many months, spying on its users and compromising their privacy. While it is possible that the app developer had intended to build up a user base before compromising their Android devices through an update or that a malicious actor introduced this change in the app; so far, we have no evidence for either of these hypotheses.” concludes ESET that also shared Indicators of Compromise (IoC).

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, APT)

Pierluigi Paganini

Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer. Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US. Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines. Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.

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