Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fake Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer/Safari Updates Expose Users to Android Malware

A currently ongoing malicious campaign using compromised sites as the primary traffic acquisition tactic, is attempting to socially engineer users (English and Russian speaking) into thinking that they're using an outdated version of their browser, and need to apply a bogus (security/antivirus) update. In reality though, the update is a variant of Trojan:Android/Fakeinst.EQ/Android.SmsSend.

Sample screenshots of the fake browser update landing pages:

Social engineering redirection chain: hxxp:// -> hxxp:// (; Email: -> hxxp:// (; Email:

Known to have responded to are also the following domains:

Sample Android samples pushed by the campaign:
MD5: da7fffa08bdeb945ca8237c2894aedd0 - detected by 11 out of 46 antivirus scanners as Android.SmsSend.809.origin; Android.Trojan.FakeInst.HE
MD5: 1e1f57f6c8c9fb39da8965275548174f - detected by 17 out of 46 antivirus scanners as HEUR:Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.fe; Andr/RuSms-AL
MD5: b0f597636859b7f5b2c1574d7a8bbbbb - detected by 13 out of 47 antivirus scanners as HEUR:Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.fe; Andr/RuSms-AL
MD5: b40aebc327e1bc6aabe5ccb4f18e8ea4 - detected by 16 out of 48 antivirus scanners as Android:FakeIns-AF; Trojan:Android/Fakeinst.EQ

All samples phone back to (; Email: Responding to the same IP is also

The same email is also known to have been previously used to register the following domains: (known to have responded to (known to have responded to

It appears that the traffic is not segmented -- to affect mobile device users only -- at any point of the redirection chain, an indication of what I believe is a boutique cybercrime-friendly operation. In comparison, the relatively more sophisticated ones would segment the traffic, usually acquired through the active exploitation of tens of thousands of legitimate Web sites, or the direct purchase of segmented mobile traffic.

Interestingly, both novice players in this market segment, and the experienced ones, are implementing basic evasive tactics, such as, for instance, the need to provide a valid mobile number, where a potential victim will receive a confirmation code for accessing the inventory of rogue games and applications, thereby preventing automatic acquisition of the apps for further analysis. Moreover, providing a valid mobile number to the cybercriminals behind the campaign, is naturally prone to be abused in ways largely based on the preferences of those who obtained them through such a way, therefore users are advised not to treat their mobile number in a privacy conscious way.

This post has been reproduced from Dancho Danchev's blog. Follow him on Twitter.