Hackers Exploit WebAPK to Deceive Android Customers into Putting in Malicious Apps

Jul 17, 2023THNCellular Safety / Malware

Hackers Exploit WebAPK

Risk actors are profiting from Android’s WebAPK expertise to trick unsuspecting customers into putting in malicious internet apps on Android telephones which can be designed to seize delicate private data.

“The assault started with victims receiving SMS messages suggesting the necessity to replace a cellular banking software,” researchers from CSIRT KNF mentioned in an evaluation launched final week. “The hyperlink contained within the message led to a web site that used WebAPK expertise to put in a malicious software on the sufferer’s gadget.”

The appliance impersonates PKO Financial institution Polski, a multinational banking and monetary providers firm headquartered in Warsaw. Particulars of the marketing campaign had been first shared by Polish cybersecurity agency RIFFSEC.

WebAPK permits customers to put in progressive internet apps (PWAs) to their residence display on Android units with out having to make use of the Google Play Retailer.

“When a consumer installs a PWA from Google Chrome and a WebAPK is used, the minting server “mints” (packages) and indicators an APK for the PWA,” Google explains in its documentation.

“That course of takes time, however when the APK is prepared, the browser installs that app silently on the consumer’s gadget. As a result of trusted suppliers (Play Providers or Samsung) signed the APK, the telephone installs it with out disabling safety, as with every app coming from the shop. There isn’t a want for sideloading the app.”

Malicious Apps

As soon as put in, the faux banking app (“org.chromium.webapk.a798467883c056fed_v2”) urges customers to enter their credentials and two-factor authentication (2FA) tokens, successfully ensuing of their theft.

“One of many challenges in countering such assaults is the truth that WebAPK purposes generate completely different package deal names and checksums on every gadget,” CSIRT KNF mentioned. “They’re dynamically constructed by the Chrome engine, which makes the usage of this information as Indicators of Compromise (IoC) tough.”


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To counter such threats, it is beneficial to dam web sites that use the WebAPK mechanism to hold out phishing assaults.

The event comes as Resecurity revealed that cybercriminals are more and more leveraging specialised gadget spoofing instruments for Android which can be marketed on the darkish internet in a bid to impersonate compromised account holders and bypass anti-fraud controls.

The antidetect instruments, together with Enclave Service and MacFly, are able to spoofing cellular gadget fingerprints and different software program and community parameters which can be analyzed by anti-fraud methods, with risk actors additionally leveraging weak fraud controls to conduct unauthorized transactions by way of smartphones utilizing banking malware similar to TimpDoor and Clientor.

“Cybercriminals use these instruments to entry compromised accounts and impersonate legit prospects by exploiting stolen cookie information, impersonating hyper-granular gadget identifiers, and using fraud victims’ distinctive community settings,” the cybersecurity firm mentioned.

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