Capture Audio

Adversaries may capture audio to collect information on a user of a mobile device using standard operating system APIs. Adversaries may target audio information such as user conversations, surroundings, phone calls, or other sensitive information.

Android and iOS, by default, requires that an application request access to microphone devices from the user. In Android, applications must hold the android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO permission to access the microphone and the android.permission.CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT permission to access audio output such as speakers. Android does not allow third-party applications to hold android.permission.CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT, so audio output can only be obtained by privileged applications (distributed by Google or the device vendor) or after a successful privilege escalation attack. In iOS, applications must include the NSMicrophoneUsageDescription key in their Info.plist file.

ID: T1429
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Android, iOS
MTC ID: APP-19
Version: 2.0
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 20 September 2019

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0292 AndroRAT

AndroRAT gathers audio from the microphone.[1]

S0422 Anubis

Anubis can record phone calls and audio, and can make phone calls.[2]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal can remotely capture device audio, as well as silently accept an incoming phone call.[3]

S0425 Corona Updates

Corona Updates can record MP4 files and monitor calls.[4]

S0301 Dendroid

Dendroid can record audio and outgoing calls.[5]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can record audio from phone calls and the device microphone.[6]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has captured audio and can record phone calls.[3]

S0320 DroidJack

DroidJack is capable of recording device phone calls.[7]

S0507 eSurv

eSurv can record audio.[8]

S0405 Exodus

Exodus Two can record audio from the compromised device's microphone and can record call audio in 3GP format.[9]

S0182 FinFisher

FinFisher uses the device microphone to record phone conversations.[10]

S0408 FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy can record both incoming and outgoing phone calls, as well as microphone audio.[11]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has recorded calls.[12]

S0535 Golden Cup

Golden Cup can record audio from the microphone and phone calls.[13]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has recorded calls and environment audio in .amr format.[3]

S0421 GolfSpy

GolfSpy can record audio and phone calls.[14]

S0544 HenBox

HenBox can access the device’s microphone.[15]

S0407 Monokle

Monokle can record audio from the device's microphone and can record phone calls, specifying the output audio quality.[16]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas captures audio from the device microphone.[10]

S0316 Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android has the ability to record device audio.[17]

S0289 Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS has the ability to record audio.[18]

S0295 RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can record audio using the device microphone.[19]

S0326 RedDrop

RedDrop captures live recordings of the device's surroundings.[20]

S0327 Skygofree

Skygofree can record audio via the microphone when an infected device is in a specified location.[21]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer can record phone calls and surrounding audio.[22]

S0305 SpyNote RAT

SpyNote RAT can activate the victim's microphone.[23]

S0328 Stealth Mango

Stealth Mango can record audio using the device microphone.[24]

S0329 Tangelo

Tangelo contains functionality to record calls as well as the victim device's environment.[24]

S0558 Tiktok Pro

Tiktok Pro can capture audio from the device’s microphone and can record phone calls.[25]

S0418 ViceLeaker

ViceLeaker can record audio from the device’s microphone and can record phone calls together with the caller ID.[26][27]

S0506 ViperRAT

ViperRAT can collect and record audio content.[28]

G0112 Windshift

Windshift has included phone call and audio recording capabilities in the malicious apps deployed as part of Operation BULL and Operation ROCK.[29]

S0489 WolfRAT

WolfRAT can record call audio.[30]

S0318 XLoader for Android

XLoader for Android covertly records phone calls.[31]

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1005 Application Vetting

Applications using the android permission android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO or iOS applications using RequestRecordPermission could be more closely scrutinized and monitored. If android.permission.CAPTURE_AUDIO_OUTPUT is found in a third-party application, it should be heavily scrutinized.

M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Android 9 and above restricts access to microphone, camera, and other sensors from background applications.[32]

Detection

On both Android (6.0 and up) and iOS, the user can view which applications have permission to use the microphone through the device settings screen, and the user can choose to revoke the permissions.

References

  1. Lookout. (2016, May 25). 5 active mobile threats spoofing enterprise apps. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  2. M. Feller. (2020, February 5). Infostealer, Keylogger, and Ransomware in One: Anubis Targets More than 250 Android Applications. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  3. 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.
  4. T. Bao, J. Lu. (2020, April 14). Coronavirus Update App Leads to Project Spy Android and iOS Spyware. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  5. Marc Rogers. (2014, March 6). Dendroid malware can take over your camera, record audio, and sneak into Google Play. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  6. 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.
  7. Viral Gandhi. (2017, January 12). Super Mario Run Malware #2 – DroidJack RAT. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  8. A. Bauer. (2019, April 8). Lookout discovers phishing sites distributing new iOS and Android surveillanceware. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  9. Security Without Borders. (2019, March 29). Exodus: New Android Spyware Made in Italy. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  10. Blaich, A., et al. (2018, January 18). Dark Caracal: Cyber-espionage at a Global Scale. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. Actis B. (2017, April 22). FlexSpy Application Analysis. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  12. Michael Flossman. (2017, October 5). FrozenCell: Multi-platform surveillance campaign against Palestinians. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  13. R. Iarchy, E. Rynkowski. (2018, July 5). GoldenCup: New Cyber Threat Targeting World Cup Fans. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  14. E. Xu, G. Guo. (2019, June 28). Mobile Cyberespionage Campaign ‘Bouncing Golf’ Affects Middle East. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  15. A. Hinchliffe, M. Harbison, J. Miller-Osborn, et al. (2018, March 13). HenBox: The Chickens Come Home to Roost. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  16. Bauer A., Kumar A., Hebeisen C., et al. (2019, July). Monokle: The Mobile Surveillance Tooling of the Special Technology Center. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  1. Mike Murray. (2017, April 3). Pegasus for Android: the other side of the story emerges. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  2. Lookout. (2016). Technical Analysis of Pegasus Spyware. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  3. Veo Zhang. (2015, July 21). Hacking Team RCSAndroid Spying Tool Listens to Calls; Roots Devices to Get In. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  4. Nell Campbell. (2018, February 27). RedDrop: the blackmailing mobile malware family lurking in app stores. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  5. Nikita Buchka and Alexey Firsh. (2018, January 16). Skygofree: Following in the footsteps of HackingTeam. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  6. Wenjun Hu, Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu. (2017, July 6). SpyDealer: Android Trojan Spying on More Than 40 Apps. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. Shivang Desai. (2017, January 23). SpyNote RAT posing as Netflix app. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  8. Lookout. (n.d.). Stealth Mango & Tangelo. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  9. S. Desai. (2020, September 8). TikTok Spyware. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  10. GReAT. (2019, June 26). ViceLeaker Operation: mobile espionage targeting Middle East. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  11. L. Arsene, C. Ochinca. (2018, August 20). Triout – Spyware Framework for Android with Extensive Surveillance Capabilities. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  12. M. Flossman. (2017, February 16). ViperRAT: The mobile APT targeting the Israeli Defense Force that should be on your radar. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  13. The Blackberry Research & Intelligence Team. (2020, October). BAHAMUT: Hack-for-Hire Masters of Phishing, Fake News, and Fake Apps. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  14. W. Mercer, P. Rascagneres, V. Ventura. (2020, May 19). The wolf is back... . Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  15. Lorin Wu. (2018, April 19). XLoader Android Spyware and Banking Trojan Distributed via DNS Spoofing. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  16. Android Developers. (, January). Android 9+ Privacy Changes . Retrieved August 27, 2019.