Application Discovery

Adversaries may seek to identify all applications installed on the device. One use case for doing so is to identify the presence of endpoint security applications that may increase the adversary's risk of detection. Another use case is to identify the presence of applications that the adversary may wish to target.

On Android, applications can use methods in the PackageManager class [1] to enumerate other apps installed on device, or an entity with shell access can use the pm command line tool.

On iOS, apps can use private API calls to obtain a list of other apps installed on the device. [2] However, use of private API calls will likely prevent the application from being distributed through Apple's App Store.

ID: T1418

Tactic Type:  Post-Adversary Device Access

Tactic: Defense Evasion, Discovery

Platform:  Android, iOS

Version: 1.0

Mitigations

Mitigation Description
Application Vetting Application vetting techniques could search for use of the Android PackageManager class to enumerate other apps, and such applications could have extra scrutiny applied to them. However, this technique may not be practical if many apps invoke these methods as part of their legitimate behavior. On iOS, application vetting techniques could similarly search for use of the private API call necessary to obtain a list of apps installed on the device. Additionally, on iOS, use of the private API call is likely to result in the app not being accepted into Apple's App Store.

Examples

Name Description
Pallas

Pallas retrieves a list of all applications installed on the device.[3]

Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android accesses the list of installed applications.[4]

Stealth Mango

Stealth Mango uploads information about installed packages.[5]

References