Access Stored Application Data

Adversaries may access and collect application data resident on the device. Adversaries often target popular applications such as Facebook, WeChat, and Gmail.[1]

This technique requires either escalated privileges or for the targeted app to have stored the data in an insecure manner (e.g., with insecure file permissions or in an insecure location such as an external storage directory).

ID: T1409
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactics: Collection, Credential Access
Platforms: Android, iOS
MTC ID: AUT-0
Version: 2.0
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 10 October 2019

Procedure Examples

Name Description
Exodus

Exodus Two extracts information from Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, IMO, Skype, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, and WeChat.[1]

FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy uses a FileObserver object to monitor the Skype and WeChat database file and shared preferences to retrieve chat messages, account information, and profile pictures of the account owner and chat participants. FlexiSpy can also spy on popular applications, including Facebook, Hangouts, Hike, Instagram, Kik, Line, QQ, Snapchat, Telegram, Tinder, Viber, and WhatsApp.[3]

Pallas

Pallas retrieves messages and decryption keys for popular messaging applications and other accounts stored on the device.[10]

Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android accesses sensitive data in files, such as messages stored by the WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter applications. It also has the ability to access arbitrary filenames and retrieve directory listings.[8]

Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS accesses sensitive data in files, such as saving Skype calls by reading them out of the Skype database files.[7]

RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can collect contacts and messages from popular applications, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, WeChat, Hangouts, Telegram, and BlackBerry Messenger.[4]

Skygofree

Skygofree has a capability to obtain files from other installed applications.[5]

SpyDealer

SpyDealer exfiltrates data from over 40 apps such as WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and others.[6]

Tangelo

Tangelo accesses databases from WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Line.[9]

Mitigations

Mitigation Description
Application Vetting

Ensure applications do not store data in an insecure fashion, such as in unprotected external storage, without acknowledging the risk that the data can potentially be accessed or modified by other applications.

Use Recent OS Version

Most new versions of mobile operating systems include patches to newly discovered privilege escalation exploits used to root or jailbreak devices. Further, applications that target Android API level 28 or higher on Android 9.0 and above devices have a policy applied that prevents other applications from reading or writing data in their internal storage directories, regardless of file permissions.[2]

Detection

Accessing stored application data can be difficult to detect, and therefore enterprises may be better served focusing on detection at other stages of adversarial behavior.

References