They are using a genuine service within Googles facilities that makes it harder for detection across users networks.
The Firestarter malware is used by an APT danger group called “DoNot”. DoNot utilizes Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), a cross-platform cloud option for messages and notices for Android, iOS, and web applications, which presently can be utilized at no cost.
The DoNot APT group is making strides to experiment with new approaches of delivery for their payloads.
The service is supplied by Firebase, a subsidiary of Google, and has actually been previously leveraged by cybercriminals.
The Way It Works
Considering that the ultimate payload is not embedded within the Android application, analysts cant dissect it. The code bit below is accountable for downloading the payload.
After getting the Google FMC token (Step 1) the operators have whatever they require to send the Google FMC message containing the URL for the malware to download, geographical area, IP imei, e-mail, and address address from the victims, permitting them to choose which victims should get the payload.
Users are tempted to set up a destructive app on their mobile phone, most likely done through direct messages that use social engineering, scientists said. The filename of those Android applications (kashmir_sample. apk or Kashmir_Voice_v4.8. apk) reveals continued interest in India, Pakistan, and the Kashmir crisis.
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The DoNot group continues to emphasize India and Pakistan, and this malware even more enforces that.
In the background, however, the malicious app is trying to download a payload utilizing FCM. Now this destructive app consists of extra malicious code that attempts to download a payload based upon information acquired from the jeopardized gadget..
If the C2 server is down, the DoNot team can still reroute the malware to a various brand-new C2 or hosting area utilizing Google facilities.
While the user exists with the messages relating to the incompatibility, the malware makes the very first contact with the command and control (C2) servers..
If the C2 is down, better control of the jeopardized gadgets even. This brand-new loader has 2 essential functions for the enemies..
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It will send out info relating to the victims identity and geolocation, both vital for the next actions the operators will carry out. The complete circulation consists of 6 steps before the malware starts getting commands from the C2 as shown below.
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As a conclusion, DoNot group utilized various configuration choices to permit specially produced functions for their web server facilities and likewise ensured backwards compatibility with previous versions of their malware..
This is often a lure to make the victim think that there was no harmful set up, scientists stated. Once the message of uninstallation is revealed, the icon is eliminated from the interface..
When the app, which purports to be a chat platform is downloaded and opened, users receive a message that chats are continually filling, the application is not supported, and uninstallation is continuous (as revealed in the sequence below)..
Since the ultimate payload is not embedded within the Android application, analysts cant dissect it. This technique also makes detection harder. The code bit listed below is accountable for downloading the payload.
Hence, they will avoid the payload from falling under scientists or law enforcements hands. Second, it provides them with a strong off-band persistence mechanism.
The requirement for a New Loader.
Users are tempted to install a malicious app on their mobile device, most likely done via direct messages that use social engineering, scientists stated. Once the message of uninstallation is shown, the icon is eliminated from the user interface. The only way to detect the application is by checking the application list.
Downloading the payload.
The figure above reveals the destructive app claims to uninstall after download. As soon as the message of uninstallation is shown, the icon is eliminated from the user interface. The only way to discover the application is by inspecting the application list.
It permits them to make a decision who receives the payload, having the capability to validate the victim prior to sending the payload..