This blog post is authored by Warren Mercer and Paul Rascagneres and Andrew Williams.
Since our initial post on malicious mobile device management (MDM) platforms, we have gathered more information about this actor that we believe shows it is part of a broader campaign targeting multiple platforms. These new targets include windows devices and additional backdoored iOS applications. We also believe we have associated this actor with a very similar campaign affecting android devices.
With this additional information, we have been able to build a profile of how the MDM was working, as explained in the previous post, while also allowing us to identify new infrastructure. We feel that it is critical that users are aware of this attack method, as well-funded actors will continue to utilize MDMs to carry out their campaigns. To be infected by this kind of malware, a user needs to enroll their device, which means they should be on the lookout at all times to avoid accidental enrollment.
In the new MDM we discovered, the actor changed some of their infrastructure in an attempt to improve the MDM’s security posture. We also found additional compromised devices, which were again located in India, with one even using the same phone number linking the MDM platforms, and one located in Qatar. We believe this newer version was used from January to March 2018. Similar to the previous MDM, we were able to identify the IPA files the attacker was using to compromise iOS devices. Additionally, we discovered that malicious apps such as WhatsApp had new malicious methods tacked onto them.
During this ongoing analysis, we also looked into other potential indicators that would point us toward the actor. We discovered this Bellingcat article that potentially links this actor to one they dubbed “Bahamut,” an advanced actor who was previously targeting Android devices. Bahamut shared a domain name with one of the malicious iOS applications mentioned in our previous post. There was also a separate post from Amnesty International discussing a similar actor that used similar spear-phishing techniques to Bahamut. However, Cisco Talos did not find any spear phishing associated with this campaign. We will discuss some links and potential overlapping with these campaigns below.
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