June 16, 2024

New Android Malware Uses Optical Character Recognition

A new Android malware strain uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) techniques to extract sensitive data from pictures.

This new Android malware strain is dubbed “CherryBlos,” and along with this malware strain, another malware was also discovered that is dubbed “FakeTrade.”

Cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro discovered the new malware strains with shared network infrastructure and certificates, hinting at the involvement of identical threat actors.

Apart from this, these malicious apps employ multiple channels for distribution, and here below we have mentioned them:-

Android Malware Use OCR

In April 2023, CherryBlos malware emerged as an APK file that was found to be promoted on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube as:-

All the malicious APK files were downloaded from domain-matching websites. Here below, we have mentioned the malicious APK file names and matching domains:-

APK files:

  • GPTalk
  • Happy Miner
  • Robot999
  • SynthNet

Matching domain names:

  • chatgptc(.)io
  • happyminer(.)com
  • robot999(.)net
  • synthnet(.)ai

Moreover, the SynthNet app, a malicious version, was downloaded around 1,000 times on Google Play before being reported and removed.

Synthnet App (Source – Trend Micro)

CherryBlos malware targets crypto wallet credentials and alters withdrawal addresses since it’s mainly designed to steal cryptocurrency wallet-related information.

The CherryBlos exploits accessibility service permissions to:-

  • Fetch config files
  • Auto-approve permissions
  • Block app termination

Besides stealing cryptocurrency-related data, CherryBlos also has an extraordinary feature that enables OCR for text extraction from images on the device.

Code to perform OCR on images (Source – Trend Micro)

When EnableImage is true in the config, CherryBlos reads media files, applying OCR for potential mnemonic recognition.

Despite the risk, people save recovery phrase photos on devices, enable malware extracts, and send data to threat actors.

Moreover, the malware also hijacks the Binance app clipboard, then alters the recipient address with the attacker’s, as this enables attackers to initiate illicit fund transfers stealthily.

Recommendations

Here below, we have mentioned all the recommendations offered by the security researchers at Trend Micro:-

  • Always download apps from the Google Play store and official app stores that are trusted. 
  • Make sure to keep your system, software, and AV tools updated with the available security patches and updates.
  • To block threats like these and other malware strains, make sure to install a robust and renowned AV solution.
  • Before allowing any permissions to apps, make sure to cross-check each permissions carefully.
  • Do not download any unknown attachments received via email.
  • Suspicious links could be dangerous, so, do not click on any suspicious links.

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