Anti-Malware Research

Infected Zoom Apps for Android Target Work-From-Home Users

Most of the world’s population has been under lockdown for more than two weeks, forced to work from the safety of their own homes.

Many have turned to video-conferencing software to keep businesses open, to attend classes or just to stay connected. It was just a matter of time until cyber-criminals started to trick users into installing tainted video-conferencing apps to capitalize on the expanded pool of users.

Malicious Zoom clones for the unaware

Zoom has been in the spotlight lately as one of the booming applications for video conferencing, despite its issues with end-to-end encryption and liberalized data sharing with Facebook. It did not take long for cyber-criminals to re-package it, disseminate it on third-party markets and wait for new victims to install it. The samples documented in this article spread outside of the Google Play Store and exclusively target users who sideload applications on their Droids.

Analyzed sample: 30a1a22dcf7fa0b62809f510a43829b1
Packagename: us.zoom.videomeetings
Detection: Android.Trojan.Downloader.UJ
App label: Zoom

This piece of malware has components injected in the repackaged Zoom application, as shown in figure 1 below.

While the user interface is identical with the original application, it comes with extra “functionality” that the user did not sign up for. The malware tries to download its main payload from a command-and-control infrastructure at tcp[:]//googleteamsupport[.]ddns.net:4444 

The choice of domains is likely not random, as it could indicate what the attackers might target next (the Google TeamSupport application is a business-to-business collaborative platform that is also surging during the COVID-19 isolation).

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Update (04/01/2020): We have investigated the googleteamsupport[.]ddns.net domain and uncovered some interesting historical details.

This is a dynamic DNS service that allows an user with a dynamic IP address to map it to a subdomain, so they can offer a service without interruption, even when their dynamic IP address changes.

Our domain history shows that this subdomain was pointed at an IP address in Jordan (92.253.77.106) that seems to also have resolved sweetman2020[.]no-ip[].biz.

We were able to link the sweetman2020 subdomain as a command and control server for SandoRAT / DroidJack, an Android remote access tool. Last year, security researcher Dancho Danchev also linked this subdomain to several targeted attacks using remote access tools.

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The sample has the same package name as the original Zoom application and the developers have taken even subtle measures to keep the Certificate details as close as possible to the original Zoom app. 

Aggressive adware gangs can’t miss the show

Bitdefender researchers have also uncovered a tainted Zoom APK that specifically targets Chinese users. Once sideloaded, the application asks for phone, location and photo permissions on start.

Analyzed sample: fb5243138a920129dd85bb0e1545c2be
Packagename: us.zoom.videomeetings
Detection: Android.Adware.Downloader.BC
App label: Zoom
Targets: China

When the victim taps the app icon, the application either does nothing, or it briefly displays an ad before closing itself.

The piece of code below shows that the main activity is transparent:

<activity android:name="com.kdssa.sdk.csj.SplashActivity" android:theme="@android:style/Theme.Translucent.NoTitleBar"> <intent-filter> <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN"/> <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER"/> </intent-filter> </activity>

As soon as the app opens, a native ad is loaded and displayed on the screen for just a second.

When the application finally starts, the victim is presented with ads as soon as they try to Join a Meeting. They will keep receiving these ads until they press the X button.

The APK we analyzed retrieves adware info from:
https[:]//sf3-ttcdn-tos.pstatp[.]com/obj/ad-pattern/renderer/package.json (the sf3 prefix part is different across various apps with the same SDK)

{“name”:”ad-pattern-renderer”,”version”:”1.0.124″,”main”:”https[:]//sf3-ttcdn-tos.pstatp][.]com/obj/ad-pattern/renderer/99093f/index.html”,”resources”:[{“url”:”https[:]//sf3-ttcdn-tos.pstatp[.]com/obj/ad-pattern/renderer/99093f/index.html”,”md5″:”f0d70a91b5035cd0a11b99fe8182ca42″,”level”:1},{“url”:”https[:]//sf3-ttcdn-tos.pstatp[.]com/obj/ad-pattern/renderer/99093f/index.js”,”md5″:”0f4eeff8f4ebfa230471c43dbf2e8bae”,”level”:1}]}

Hardcoded links:

http[:]//sf3-ttcdn-tos[.]pstatp.com/

More Zoom badware

This is another malicious sample that attempts to impersonate the Zoom application and lure victims into installing it.

Analyzed sample: 9930b683d4b31a3398da0fb75c27d056
Packagename: app.z1_android_421120320_app_original_file
Detection: Android.Trojan.HiddenAds.AJR
App label: ZOOM Cloud Meetings

When opened, the application initially hides itself from the menu. It then starts a repeating alarm that randomly sends an intent to an Ad Service. This service subsequently starts an AdActivity that opens an ad. The link can be found in the resources: adsforapp1[.]com


The malicious app proceeds with checking for another hard-coded string in assets, called ‘admin’. If the string is true, it asks for device admin rights. If the value is set to false (as in our case), it tries to download another file (the apk entry).

When opened, the app redirects to download the extra component.

As of the moment of writing, this sample has been seen in the wild in the United States.

The sample bundles functionality to ask for device admin permissions in English or Russian, based on the default language of the mobile phone. The malware also has the ability to start itself when the device is powered on.

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android detects and blocks these applications as Android.Trojan.Downloader.UJ, Android.Adware.Downloader.BC and Android.Trojan.HiddenAds.AJR. In order to minimize risks of getting compromised, Android users are advised to install a security solution and to limit their downloads to vendor-recommended application stores.

About the author

Oana ASOLTANEI

Oana ASOLTANEI

Oana Asoltanei is a Security Researcher at Bitdefender. She focuses her research on Android malware and mobile security in general.

About the author

Alin Mihai Barbatei

Alin Mihai Barbatei

I joined the Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab (CTIL) team several ago and never looked back. At work I am continuously focusing on remediation of Android threats with everything that this involves; I can’t get too picky. In my spare time I like to learn stuff, read, go hiking and I also do a bit of kirigami.
Cliché or not, I actually do believe that if you are not constantly improving as a person you are in fact regressing.

About the author

Ioan-Septimiu Dinulica

Ioan-Septimiu Dinulica

Ioan Septimiu Dinulica is a Junior Security Researcher and a Master's in Software Engineering student at Politehnica University of Timișoara. His main interests represent Android malware research and cloud computing. In his spare time he enjoys travelling, playing tennis and reading.

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