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…

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 related to and pressure the router to ship all community units to malicious websites.

The malicious app, discovered by Kaspersky, makes use of a way often 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 by utilizing default or generally used credentials, corresponding to admin:admin. When profitable, the app then modifications the DNS server to a malicious one managed by the attackers. From then on, units on the community will be directed to imposter websites that mimic reliable ones however unfold malware or log consumer credentials or different delicate info.

Able to spreading broadly

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

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

DNS is the mechanism that matches a website identify like ArsTechnica.com to, the numerical IP deal with the place the positioning is hosted. DNS lookups are carried out by servers operated by a consumer’s ISP or by companies from firms corresponding to Cloudflare or Google. By altering the DNS server deal with in a router’s administrative panel from a reliable one to a malicious one, attackers could cause all units related 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 method the malware is able to is getting used virtually solely in South Korea. From 2019 to most of 2022, attackers lured targets to malicious websites that have been despatched by textual content messages, a way often known as smishing. Late final yr, the attackers integrated DNS hijacking into their actions in that Asian nation.

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

The attackers, identified within the safety business as Roaming Mantis, designed the DNS hijacking to work solely when units 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 critical, it has a significant shortcoming—HTTPS. Transport Layer Safety (TLS) certificates that function the underpinning for HTTPS bind a website identify corresponding to ArsTechnica.com to a personal encryption key that’s identified solely to the positioning operator. Individuals directed to a malicious website masquerading as Ars Technica utilizing a contemporary browser will obtain warnings that the connection isn’t safe or will likely be requested to approve a self-signed certificates, a follow that customers ought to by no means observe.

One other strategy 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 website that appears virtually equivalent to the reliable one they supposed to entry.

“Customers with contaminated Android units that hook up with free or public Wi-Fi networks might unfold the malware to different units on the community if the Wi-Fi community they’re related to is susceptible,” Thursday’s report said. “Kaspersky specialists are involved in regards to the potential for the DNS changer for use to focus on different areas and trigger important points.