Capture SMS Messages

A malicious application could capture sensitive data sent via SMS, including authentication credentials. SMS is frequently used to transmit codes used for multi-factor authentication.

On Android, a malicious application must request and obtain permission (either at app install time or run time) in order to receive SMS messages. Alternatively, a malicious application could attempt to perform an operating system privilege escalation attack to bypass the permission requirement.

On iOS, applications cannot access SMS messages in normal operation, so an adversary would need to attempt to perform an operating system privilege escalation attack to potentially be able to access SMS messages.

ID: T1412
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Platforms: Android, iOS
Version: 1.1
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 18 September 2019

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0309 Adups

Adups transmitted the full contents of text messages.[1]

S0304 Android/Chuli.A

Android/Chuli.A stole SMS message content.[2]

S0292 AndroRAT

AndroRAT captures SMS messages.[3]

S0540 Asacub

Asacub can collect SMS messages as they are received.[4]

S0432 Bread

Bread can access SMS messages in order to complete carrier billing fraud.[5]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal can access the device’s SMS and MMS messages.[6]

S0480 Cerberus

Cerberus can collect SMS messages from a device.[7]

S0425 Corona Updates

Corona Updates can collect SMS messages.[8]

S0301 Dendroid

Dendroid can intercept SMS messages.[9]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can retrieve SMS messages.[10]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has captured SMS and MMS messages.[6]

S0320 DroidJack

DroidJack captures SMS data.[11]

S0478 EventBot

EventBot can intercept SMS messages.[12]

S0522 Exobot

Exobot can intercept SMS messages.[13]

S0405 Exodus

Exodus Two can capture SMS messages.[14]

S0509 FakeSpy

FakeSpy can collect SMS messages.[15]

S0182 FinFisher

FinFisher captures and exfiltrates SMS messages.[16]

S0408 FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy can intercept SMS and MMS messages as well as monitor messages for keywords.[17][18]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has read SMS messages for exfiltration.[19]

S0423 Ginp

Ginp can collect SMS messages.[20]

S0535 Golden Cup

Golden Cup can collect sent and received SMS messages.[21]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has collected SMS messages.[6]

S0421 GolfSpy

GolfSpy can collect SMS messages.[22]

S0536 GPlayed

GPlayed can read SMS messages.[23]

S0406 Gustuff

Gustuff can intercept two-factor authentication codes transmitted via SMS.[24]

S0544 HenBox

HenBox can intercept SMS messages.[25]

S0463 INSOMNIA

INSOMNIA can retrieve SMS messages and iMessages.[26]

S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can access SMS messages.[27]

S0303 MazarBOT

MazarBOT can intercept two-factor authentication codes sent by online banking apps.[28]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas captures and exfiltrates all SMS messages, including future messages as they are received.[16]

S0289 Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS captures SMS messages that the victim sends or receives.[29]

S0295 RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can collect SMS, MMS, and Gmail messages.[30]

S0539 Red Alert 2.0

Red Alert 2.0 can collect SMS messages.[31]

S0403 Riltok

Riltok can intercept incoming SMS messages.[32]

S0411 Rotexy

Rotexy processes incoming SMS messages by filtering based on phone numbers, keywords, and regular expressions, focusing primarily on banks, payment systems, and mobile network operators. Rotexy can also send a list of all SMS messages on the device to the command and control server.[33]

S0313 RuMMS

RuMMS uploads incoming SMS messages to a remote command and control server.[34]

S0549 SilkBean

SilkBean can access SMS messages.[6]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer harvests SMS and MMS messages from victims.[35]

S0305 SpyNote RAT

SpyNote RAT can read SMS messages.[36]

S0328 Stealth Mango

Stealth Mango uploads SMS messages.[37]

S0329 Tangelo

Tangelo contains functionality to gather SMS messages.[37]

S0558 Tiktok Pro

Tiktok Pro can collect SMS messages from the device.[38]

S0424 Triada

Triada variants capture transaction data from SMS-based in-app purchases.[39]

S0427 TrickMo

TrickMo can intercept SMS messages.[40]

S0418 ViceLeaker

ViceLeaker can collect SMS messages.[41]

S0506 ViperRAT

ViperRAT can collect SMS messages.[42]

G0112 Windshift

Windshift has included SMS message exfiltration in the malicious apps deployed as part of Operation BULL and Operation ROCK.[43]

S0489 WolfRAT

WolfRAT can collect SMS messages.[44]

S0298 Xbot

Xbot steals all SMS message and contact information as well as intercepts and parses certain SMS messages.[45]

S0318 XLoader for Android

XLoader for Android collects SMS messages.[46]

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1005 Application Vetting

Enterprises performing application vetting could search for applications that declare the RECEIVE_SMS permission and scrutinize them closely.

M1001 Security Updates
M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Detection

On Android, the user can view which applications have permission to access SMS messages through the device settings, and the user can choose to revoke the permission.

References

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  3. Lookout. (2016, May 25). 5 active mobile threats spoofing enterprise apps. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  4. T. Shishkova. (2018, August 28). The rise of mobile banker Asacub. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
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  11. Viral Gandhi. (2017, January 12). Super Mario Run Malware #2 – DroidJack RAT. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  12. D. Frank, L. Rochberger, Y. Rimmer, A. Dahan. (2020, April 30). EventBot: A New Mobile Banking Trojan is Born. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  13. Threat Fabric. (2017, February). Exobot - Android banking Trojan on the rise. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  14. Security Without Borders. (2019, March 29). Exodus: New Android Spyware Made in Italy. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  15. O. Almkias. (2020, July 1). FakeSpy Masquerades as Postal Service Apps Around the World. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  16. Blaich, A., et al. (2018, January 18). Dark Caracal: Cyber-espionage at a Global Scale. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  17. Actis B. (2017, April 22). FlexSpy Application Analysis. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  18. FlexiSpy. (n.d.). FlexiSpy Monitoring Features. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  19. Michael Flossman. (2017, October 5). FrozenCell: Multi-platform surveillance campaign against Palestinians. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
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  23. V. Ventura. (2018, October 11). GPlayed Trojan - .Net playing with Google Market . Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  1. Vitor Ventura. (2019, April 9). Gustuff banking botnet targets Australia . Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  2. A. Hinchliffe, M. Harbison, J. Miller-Osborn, et al. (2018, March 13). HenBox: The Chickens Come Home to Roost. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
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  5. Graham Cluley. (2016, February 16). Android users warned of malware attack spreading via SMS. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  6. Lookout. (2016). Technical Analysis of Pegasus Spyware. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  7. Veo Zhang. (2015, July 21). Hacking Team RCSAndroid Spying Tool Listens to Calls; Roots Devices to Get In. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
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  12. Wenjun Hu, Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu. (2017, July 6). SpyDealer: Android Trojan Spying on More Than 40 Apps. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  13. Shivang Desai. (2017, January 23). SpyNote RAT posing as Netflix app. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  14. Lookout. (n.d.). Stealth Mango & Tangelo. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  15. S. Desai. (2020, September 8). TikTok Spyware. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
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  17. P. Asinovsky. (2020, March 24). TrickBot Pushing a 2FA Bypass App to Bank Customers in Germany. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
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