We previously wrote several times about Man-in-the-Mobile attacks which aim to steal mTANs sent via SMS. For a long time, only two families of such malware have been known: ZeuS-in-the-Mobile (ZitMo) and SpyEye-in-the-Mobile (SpitMo). ZitMo and SpitMo work together with their Windows ‘brothers’. Actually, without them, they would look like trivial SMS spy Trojans. It is necessary to mention that during the last two years such attacks have been observed only in some European countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and few others.
But when the mobile version of Carberp Trojan appeared (we detect it as Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.Citmo, Carberp-in-the-Mobile) such attacks became real in Russia as well. There is no secret that online banking is becoming more and more popular in Russia; and banks are very active in promoting online banking with various authorization methods.
Carberp for Windows works in a similar way to the ZeuS Trojan. If a user tries to login into his online banking account using a machine infected by Carberp, the malware will modify the transaction so that user credentials are sent to a malicious server rather than a bank server.
In addition to the login and password, cybercriminals still need mTANs in order to confirm any money transfer operation from a stolen account. That is why one of the Carberp modifications (we call it Trojan-Spy.Win32.Carberp.ugu and we've added detection for it on 11th of December) alters the online banking web page on the fly, inviting the user to download and install an application which is allegedly necessary for logging into the system. And the user can get this link via SMS message by entering his phone number or by scanning a QR-code:
According to this screenshot, users of one of the most popular Russian banks, Sberbank, are under attack. ‘Sberbank’ updated its web page on 12th of December with information about the attack. The link in the QR-code led to the fake ‘SberSafe’ application (Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.Citmo) which has been in Google Play since 30th of November.
According to Wikipedia QR code is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. QR codes are becoming more and more popular today and are used in banners, magazines, transport and badges in order to provide quick and easy access to particular information. A QR code has a pretty big capacity (compared to a simple barcode) and is able to store 7089 numeric characters or 4296 alphanumeric characters; and it is more than enough to store text or URL.
But about the malicious QR codes? Yes, you scan a QR code with the help of your smartphone and it redirects you to a URL with a malicious file (APK or JAR). Such QR codes exist and are gaining in popularity.
Today people who use smartphones often look for new software for their devices with the help of desktop PCs. If a user finds something interesting he or she must retype the application URL in the smartphone browser for downloading it. It’s not very convenient so that’s why such websites have QR codes which can be easily scanned.
It is known that today a lot of mobile malware (especially SMS Trojans) is spread via sinister websites where all software is malicious. And cybercriminals have started to use malicious QR codes for users’ ‘convenience’. Here is an example of such a website:
Part of the website with malicious QR code