'Xafecopy' mobile malware detected in 40pct of India; looting victims through WAP billing

ANI | Updated: Sep 07, 2017 13:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 7 (ANI): Experts at Kaspersky Lab experts uncovered a mobile malware 'Xafecopy Trojan' targeting the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) billing payment method, stealing money through victims' mobile accounts without their knowledge, disguised as useful apps like BatteryMaster.

The malware, which has spread to 40 percent of the Indian landscape, is said to be operating normally while secretly decrypting and loading malicious code onto the device. Some of the names in the JavaScript files used by Xafecopy are also seen in the infamous Ztorg Trojan, suggesting possible code sharing between criminal gangs.

Once activated, the Xafecopy malware clicks on web pages with WAP billing - a form of mobile payment that charges costs directly to the user's mobile phone bill so they don't need to register a card or set up a username and password - and then silently subscribes the phone to a number of services. The malware uses JavaScript files that can bypass 'captcha' systems designed to protect users by confirming the action is being performed by a human.

"WAP billing can be particularly vulnerable to so-called 'clickjacking' as it has a one-click feature that requires no user authorization. Our research suggests WAP billing attacks are on the rise. Xafecopy's attacks targeted countries where this payment method is popular. The malware has also been detected with different modifications, such as the ability to text messages from a mobile device to Premium-rate phone numbers, and to delete incoming text messages to hide alerts from mobile network operators about stolen money," said Roman Unuchek, Senior Malware Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Xafecopy hit more than 4,800 users in 47 countries in a span of one month, with 37.5 percent of the attacks detected and blocked by Kaspersky Lab products targeting India, followed by Russia, Turkey and Mexico.

"Android users need to be extremely cautious in how they download apps. It is best not to trust third-party apps, and whatever apps users do download should be scanned locally with the Verify Apps utility. But beyond that, Android users should be running a mobile security suite on their devices," said Altaf Halde, Managing Director- South Asia, Kaspersky Lab.

Persuading users from falling prey to the infectious malware, it is important for Android users to note that the apps they are downloading have been created by a reputable developer, and use only reputable online stores.

Further, users must keep their OS and application software up-to-date, and refrain from downloading anything that looks suspicious or whose source cannot be verified. (ANI)