As a follow up to our BlackHat EU 2015 presentation about benign applications not securing user data in the cloud (Backend-as-a-Service) we also looked into malicious applications whether we can find similar data leakages. In a collaboration with McAfee Security Lab (Intel Security Lab) we analyzed 294,817 malware-laden mobile apps and found that 16 of them are connected with vulnerable Backend-as-a-Service instances implemented in Facebook Parse. Since the malware authors did not secure the backend (BaaS-backend) securely we had access to the complete database including Command&Control (C&C) communications and tasks for victims. This gave us very interesting insights about current state-of-the-art C&C communication/protocols in the context of mobile malware.
The results were presented at VirusBulletin 2015 and AVAR 2015. More details can be looked up from our whitepaper and the corresponding slides. This project is also part of McAfee’s Q4 Threat report.
We presented our Backend-as-a-Service investigation at Blackhat Europe 2015.
The slides are available here. The paper contains more details and you can find it here.
Update: First news report available here.
At this year Black Hat Europe conference, we will talk about our Backend-As-A-Service investigation, which we published a couple of months ago.
The talk will contain a full disclosure about our investigation including details about our automatic “exploit generator”.
Title of the talk: “(IN-)SECURITY OF BACKEND-AS-A-SERVICE PROVIDERS”
If you are around, feel free to join our talk and also to meet at the conference.
With the help of CodeInspect, Appicaptor and an internally developed tool, researchers from TU Darmstadt and Fraunhofer SIT have found that many mobile applications store private information in the cloud, in an easily accessible manner.
Many users of mobile applications want their data to be synced across multiple platforms (iOS/Android/Windows/OSX/…). For app developers it is typically hard to support synchronization, as they need to set up backend servers on which the data can be stored and synchronized. Cloud providers such as Amazon and Parse.com therefore provide backends as a service (BaaS). With BaaS, app developers can simply connect to pre-configured servers using a few lines of program code. This makes data storage and synchronization through the cloud very easy. Some apps use BaaS to share public data, which is ok as long as the data is configured to be read-only. Many apps, however, use BaaS also to store confidential data such as user names, email addresses, contact information, passwords and other secrets, photos and generally any kind of data one can think of. Such data should only be accessible to the individual app user who stored the data. The researchers found more than 56 million sets of unprotected data, including email addresses, passwords, health records and other sensitive information of app users, which may be easily stolen and often manipulated. Read the official release here.
Earlier this year, we reported on the Korean threat we identified in collaboration with McAfee Mobile Research. We have now released a technical report describing in detail the Android/BadAccents malware. Furthermore, we also describe a new tapjacking attack (also reported earlier this year) the malware exploited.
The technical report also describes the fix we submitted to the Android Security Team in January this year. Until now (approximately 4 month later), the official AOSP still doesn’t include the fix, meaning likely all Android versions are still vulnerable. Unfortunately, there is no real protection-mechanism for the user against this attack. A general recommendation from our side is the installation of apps from the official app stores and the usage of anti-virus applications (many AV vendors already detect this malware family).
On 7th November, we are presenting our “Denial-of-App Attack” at the SPSM 2014 workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona (USA).
Stephan Huber (Fraunhofer SIT Darmstadt) and Siegfried Rasthofer (TU Darmstadt) discovered a security vulnerability in versions 2.0.0 – 2.0.5 of the security tool AppGuard Pro. A few weeks ago, we informed the vendor Backes SRT who has now fixed the vulnerability in the latest release. The vulnerability gives malicious apps full control of all settings in the AppGuard Pro application. The vulnerability not only allows such apps to bypass any and all of the tool’s security measures, on top of that the malicious apps can even misuse AppGuard Pro to convince the user into perceiving the malicious app as harmless. Users should download the update as soon as possible.