IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Malicious cryptocurrency scheme targets Android and iOS users

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Mon 28 Mar 2022

Researchers have discovered a sophisticated malicious cryptocurrency scheme that targets mobile devices running Android or iOS.

The malicious apps are distributed through fake websites and mimic legitimate wallet services such as Metamask, Coinbase, Trust Wallet, TokenPocket, Bitpie, imToken, and OneKey. The fake websites are promoted with ads on legitimate sites using misleading articles. 

The researchers say threat actors are also recruiting intermediaries through Telegram and Facebook groups to help distribute the malicious scheme. ESET Research says the primary goal of the malicious apps is to steal users' funds and that, until recently, the scheme has largely targeted Chinese users. As cryptocurrencies gain popularity, ESET anticipates these techniques will spread to other markets.

"Starting in May 2021, our research uncovered dozens of trojanized cryptocurrency wallet apps," says ESET researcher, Lukáš Štefanko.

"This is a sophisticated attack vector since the malware's author carried out an in-depth analysis of the legitimate applications misused in this scheme, enabling the insertion of their malicious code into places where it would be hard to detect while also making sure that such crafted apps had the same functionality as the originals. At this point, ESET Research believes that this is likely the work of one criminal group."

He says the malicious apps also represent another threat, as some of them send secret victim seed phrases to the attacker's server using an unsecured HTTP connection. This means that the victim's funds could be stolen by the operator of this scheme and by a different attacker eavesdropping on the same network.

"We also discovered 13 malicious apps impersonating the Jaxx Liberty wallet. These apps were available on the Google Play Store," adds Štefanko.

On Telegram, a free and popular multi-platform messaging app with enhanced privacy and encryption features, ESET found dozens of groups promoting malicious copies of cryptocurrency mobile wallets. The research company assumes these groups were created by the threat actor behind the scheme looking for further distribution partners. ESET says this activity has been ongoing since May 2021. 

"Starting in October 2021, we found that these Telegram groups were shared and promoted in at least 56 Facebook groups with the same goal to search for more distribution partners," says Štefanko. 

"In November 2021, we spotted the distribution of malicious wallets using two legitimate Chinese websites. Besides these distribution vectors, we discovered dozens of other counterfeit wallet websites targeting mobile users exclusively. Visiting one of the websites might lead a potential victim to download a trojanized wallet app for the Android or iOS platforms."

The malicious app behaves differently depending on the operating system. On Android, it appears to target new cryptocurrency users who do not yet have a legitimate wallet application installed on their devices. On iOS, the victim can have both versions installed, the legitimate one from the App Store and the malicious one from a website.

On iOS, these malicious apps are not available on the App Store; they must be downloaded and installed using configuration profiles, which add an arbitrary, trusted code-signing certificate. While on Google Play, based on ESET's request as a Google App Defense Alliance partner, in January 2022, Google removed 13 malicious applications found on the official store.

The source code of this threat has been leaked and shared on a few Chinese websites, which might attract various threat actors and spread it even further.

The Bitcoin price has decreased almost by half from its all-time high about four months ago. This might be a time for cryptocurrency investors to panic and withdraw their funds, or for newcomers to jump at this chance and buy cryptocurrency for a lower price. 

"If you belong to one of these groups, you should carefully pick which mobile app to use to manage your funds," says Štefanko.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Digital
Ivanti puts spotlight on power of employee digital experiences
The report revealed that 49% of employees are frustrated by the tech and tools their organisation provides and 64% believe this impacts morale.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Infrastructure
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Story image
eCommerce
Robust digital warehouse management crucial in Asia-Pacific
Thanks to a network of “cloud” stores, grocery and food delivery providers such as Foodpanda can arrange for these commonly requested items to get packed up and sent over in almost no time.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
HPE GreenLake advances hybrid cloud experience with new services
"The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”
Story image
Sustainability
Vertiv releases updates on ESG initiatives, sets sights on future
Vertiv has released its inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, the company’s first public report of its ESG activities.
Story image
MarTech
Martech experts reveal the “buzz” on personalisation
In the digital age, innovative technology must be leveraged to power an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Cloudian
Cloudian, Vertica to deliver on-premise data warehouse platform
"We’re enabling our customers to capitalise on a leading object storage platform and maximise the value of their digital assets.”
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity named a Leader in Access Management
Ping Identity has been named a leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Access Management. 
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
SAS acquires Kamakura to propel risk technology innovation
Underscoring SAS growth in the domain-specific solutions space, the acquisition will enable SAS to greatly enhance the breadth of its risk solutions portfolio. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Robotics
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
How organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic workforce
The so-called 'new normal' office looks different to how it did pre-pandemic, and organisations need to take steps to better manage their post-pandemic workforce. 
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Metaverse
How the metaverse will change the future of the supply chain
The metaverse is set to significantly change the way we live and work, so what problems can it solve in supply chain management?
Story image
Data ownership
Brands must reclaim trust by empowering data ownership
According to Twilio's new State of Personalisation Report 2022, 62% of consumers expect personalisation from brands, and yet only 40% trust brands to use their data responsibly and keep it safe.
Story image
Revenue
Datacom announces revenue of $1.45 billion, fall in profit
Growing market pressures and border closures saw Datacom place increased focus on talent development initiatives for both existing and future employees.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Electrical
Up to $2.4 million shortfall in the collapse of IndeServe
We delve into the liquidators first report on long-standing networking service provider IndeServes collapse.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Awards
Microsoft names A/NZ Partner of the Year award winners
The awards recognise partners across the globe for their innovative use of Microsoft technologies to help customers succeed.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Microsoft
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Finance
Airwallex launches global payment services in New Zealand
The launch will enable businesses in New Zealand to tap into Airwallex's global payments services, offering an alternative to traditional banks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Financial results
Margins & revenues up at New Zealand arm of Acer Computer
We look at the local financial statements of Taiwanese manufacturer Acer Computer Inc.
Story image
Voice recognition
Renesas and Cyberon expand services with voice recognition
“We are honoured to collaborate with Renesas to simplify the development of embedded voice recognition functions."
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS wins Microsoft ISV 2022 Partner of the Year award
"We formed the SAS and Microsoft strategic partnership with a shared goal of making it easier for customers to drive better decisions in the cloud."
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.