Stored Application Data

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

Due to mobile OS sandboxing, this technique is only possible in three scenarios:

  • An application stores files in unprotected external storage
  • An application stores files in its internal storage directory with insecure permissions (e.g. 777)
  • The adversary gains root permissions on the device
ID: T1409
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Android, iOS
Version: 3.1
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 20 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description

BOULDSPY can retrieve account information for third party services, such as Google, Telegram, WeChat, or WhatsApp.[2]

S0655 BusyGasper

BusyGasper can collect data from messaging applications, including WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook.[3]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal can collect notes and data from the MiCode app.[4]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can collect account information stored on the device.[5]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has accessed browser history, as well as the files for 15 other apps.[4]

S1092 Escobar

Escobar can request the GET_ACCOUNTS permission to get the list of accounts on the device, and can collect media files.[6]

S0405 Exodus

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

S0509 FakeSpy

FakeSpy can collect account information stored on the device, as well as data in external storage.[7]

S0408 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.[8]

S1103 FlixOnline

FlixOnline can steal data from a user’s WhatsApp account(s).[9]

S1093 FlyTrap

FlyTrap can collect Facebook account information, such as Facebook ID, email address, cookies, and login tokens.[10][11]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has retrieved account information for other applications.[12]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has extracted messages from chat programs, such as WeChat.[4]

S1128 HilalRAT

HilalRAT can access and retrieve files on a device.[13]

S1077 Hornbill

Hornbill can collect voice notes and messages from WhatsApp, if installed.[14]

S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can collect all accounts stored on the device.[15]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas retrieves messages and decryption keys for popular messaging applications and other accounts stored on the device.[16]

S0316 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.[17]

S0289 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.[18]

S0295 RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can collect contacts and messages from popular applications, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, WeChat, Hangouts, Telegram, and BlackBerry Messenger.[19]

S1062 S.O.V.A.

S.O.V.A. can gather session cookies from infected devices. S.O.V.A. can also abuse Accessibility Services to steal Google Authenticator tokens.[20][21]

S0327 Skygofree

Skygofree has a capability to obtain files from other installed applications.[22]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer exfiltrates data from over 40 apps such as WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and others.[23]

S1082 Sunbird

Sunbird can exfiltrate browser history, BlackBerry Messenger files, IMO instant messaging content, and WhatsApp voice notes.[14]

S0329 Tangelo

Tangelo accesses databases from WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Line.[24]

S0311 YiSpecter

YiSpecter has modified Safari’s default search engine, bookmarked websites, opened pages, and accessed contacts and authorization tokens of the IM program "QQ" on infected devices.[25]


ID Mitigation Description
M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Android 9 introduced a new security policy that prevents applications from reading or writing data to other applications’ internal storage directories, regardless of permissions.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0041 Application Vetting API Calls

Application vetting services could detect when applications store data insecurely, for example, in unprotected external storage.


  1. Security Without Borders. (2019, March 29). Exodus: New Android Spyware Made in Italy. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  2. Kyle Schmittle, Alemdar Islamoglu, Paul Shunk, Justin Albrecht. (2023, April 27). Lookout Discovers Android Spyware Tied to Iranian Police Targeting Minorities: BouldSpy. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  3. Alexey Firsh. (2018, August 29). BusyGasper – the unfriendly spy. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  4. A. Kumar, K. Del Rosso, J. Albrecht, C. Hebeisen. (2020, June 1). Mobile APT Surveillance Campaigns Targeting Uyghurs - A collection of long-running Android tooling connected to a Chinese mAPT actor. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  5. A. Blaich, M. Flossman. (2018, April 16). Lookout finds new surveillanceware in Google Play with ties to known threat actor targeting the Middle East. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  6. B. Toulas. (2022, March 12). Android malware Escobar steals your Google Authenticator MFA codes. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  7. O. Almkias. (2020, July 1). FakeSpy Masquerades as Postal Service Apps Around the World. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  8. K. Lu. (n.d.). Deep Technical Analysis of the Spyware FlexiSpy for Android. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  9. Aviran Hazum, Bodgan Melnykov, Israel Wenik. (2021, April 7). New Wormable Android Malware Spreads by Creating Auto-Replies to Messages in WhatsApp. Retrieved January 26, 2024.
  10. Trend Micro. (2021, August 17). FlyTrap Android Malware Is Taking Over Facebook Accounts — Protect Yourself With a Malware Scanner. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  11. A. Yaswant. (2021, August 9). FlyTrap Android Malware Compromises Thousands of Facebook Accounts. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  12. Michael Flossman. (2017, October 5). FrozenCell: Multi-platform surveillance campaign against Palestinians. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  13. Agranovich, D., et al. (2022, April). Adversarial Threat Report. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  1. Apurva Kumar, Kristin Del Rosso. (2021, February 10). Novel Confucius APT Android Spyware Linked to India-Pakistan Conflict. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  2. R. Gevers, M. Tivadar, R. Bleotu, A. M. Barbatei, et al.. (2020, May 14). Uprooting Mandrake: The Story of an Advanced Android Spyware Framework That Went Undetected for 4 Years. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  3. Blaich, A., et al. (2018, January 18). Dark Caracal: Cyber-espionage at a Global Scale. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  4. Mike Murray. (2017, April 3). Pegasus for Android: the other side of the story emerges. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  5. Lookout. (2016). Technical Analysis of Pegasus Spyware. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  6. Veo Zhang. (2015, July 21). Hacking Team RCSAndroid Spying Tool Listens to Calls; Roots Devices to Get In. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  7. ThreatFabric. (2021, September 9). S.O.V.A. - A new Android Banking trojan with fowl intentions. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  8. Francesco Lubatti, Federico Valentini. (2022, November 8). SOVA malware is back and is evolving rapidly. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  9. Nikita Buchka and Alexey Firsh. (2018, January 16). Skygofree: Following in the footsteps of HackingTeam. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  10. Wenjun Hu, Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu. (2017, July 6). SpyDealer: Android Trojan Spying on More Than 40 Apps. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  11. Lookout. (n.d.). Stealth Mango & Tangelo. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  12. Claud Xiao. (2015, October 4). YiSpecter: First iOS Malware That Attacks Non-jailbroken Apple iOS Devices by Abusing Private APIs. Retrieved March 3, 2023.