Hacker group incorporates DNS hijacking into its malicious web site marketing campaign
Hacker group incorporates DNS hijacking into its malicious web site marketing campaign
Enlarge / DNS hijacking idea.

Researchers have uncovered a malicious Android app that may tamper with the wi-fi router the contaminated cellphone is linked to and drive the router to ship all community gadgets to malicious websites.

The malicious app, discovered by Kaspersky, makes use of a method generally known as DNS (Area Identify System) hijacking. As soon as the app is put in, it connects to the router and makes an attempt to log in to its administrative account through the use of default or generally used credentials, akin to admin:admin. When profitable, the app then modifications the DNS server to a malicious one managed by the attackers. From then on, gadgets on the community may be directed to imposter websites that mimic reputable ones however unfold malware or log consumer credentials or different delicate data.

Able to spreading extensively

“We imagine that the invention of this new DNS changer implementation is essential by way of safety,” Kaspersky researchers wrote. “The attacker can use it to handle all communications from gadgets utilizing a compromised Wi-Fi router with the rogue DNS settings.”

The researchers continued: “Customers join contaminated Android gadgets to free/public Wi-Fi in such locations as cafes, bars, libraries, accommodations, procuring malls, and airports. When linked to a focused Wi-Fi mannequin with susceptible settings, the Android malware will compromise the router and have an effect on different gadgets as effectively. Consequently, it’s able to spreading extensively within the focused areas.”

DNS is the mechanism that matches a site title like ArsTechnica.com to, the numerical IP tackle the place the positioning is hosted. DNS lookups are carried out by servers operated by a consumer’s ISP or by providers from corporations akin to Cloudflare or Google. By altering the DNS server tackle in a router’s administrative panel from a reputable one to a malicious one, attackers could cause all gadgets linked to the router to obtain malicious area lookups that result in lookalike websites used for cybercrime.

The Android app is called Wroba.o and has been in use for years in numerous international locations, together with the US, France, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Turkey. Curiously, the DNS hijacking approach the malware is able to is getting used virtually completely in South Korea. From 2019 to most of 2022, attackers lured targets to malicious websites that have been despatched by way of textual content messages, a method generally known as smishing. Late final yr, the attackers included DNS hijacking into their actions in that Asian nation.

Infection flow with DNS hijacking and smishing.
Enlarge / An infection movement with DNS hijacking and smishing.

The attackers, identified within the safety trade as Roaming Mantis, designed the DNS hijacking to work solely when gadgets go to the cellular model of a spoofed web site, more than likely to make sure the marketing campaign goes undetected.

Whereas the menace is severe, it has a serious shortcoming—HTTPS. Transport Layer Safety (TLS) certificates that function the underpinning for HTTPS bind a site title akin to ArsTechnica.com to a personal encryption key that’s identified solely to the positioning operator. Folks directed to a malicious web site masquerading as Ars Technica utilizing a contemporary browser will obtain warnings that the connection isn’t safe or can be requested to approve a self-signed certificates, a apply that customers ought to by no means comply with.

One other technique to fight the menace is to make sure the password defending a router’s administrative account is modified from the default one to a robust one.

Nonetheless, not everyone seems to be versed in such greatest practices, which leaves them open to visiting a malicious web site that appears virtually similar to the reputable one they supposed to entry.

“Customers with contaminated Android gadgets that connect with free or public Wi-Fi networks could unfold the malware to different gadgets on the community if the Wi-Fi community they’re linked to is susceptible,” Thursday’s report said. “Kaspersky consultants are involved in regards to the potential for the DNS changer for use to focus on different areas and trigger vital points.