Protected User Data: Contact List

Adversaries may utilize standard operating system APIs to gather contact list data. On Android, this can be accomplished using the Contacts Content Provider. On iOS, this can be accomplished using the Contacts framework.

If the device has been jailbroken or rooted, an adversary may be able to access the Contact List without the user’s knowledge or approval.

ID: T1636.003
Sub-technique of:  T1636
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Android, iOS
Version: 1.1
Created: 01 April 2022
Last Modified: 20 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S1061 AbstractEmu

AbstractEmu can grant itself contact list access.[1]

S0309 Adups

Adups transmitted contact lists.[2]

S1095 AhRat

AhRat can collect the device’s contact list.[3]

S0304 Android/Chuli.A

Android/Chuli.A stole contact list data stored both on the the phone and the SIM card.[4]

S0292 AndroRAT

AndroRAT collects contact list information.[5][6]

S0422 Anubis

Anubis can steal the device’s contact list.[7]

S0540 Asacub

Asacub can collect the device’s contact list.[8]


BOULDSPY can exfiltrate a device’s contacts.[9]

C0033 C0033

During C0033, PROMETHIUM used StrongPity to collect the device’s contact list.[10]

S0480 Cerberus

Cerberus can obtain the device’s contact list.[11]

S0323 Charger

Charger steals contacts from the victim user's device.[12]

S0425 Corona Updates

Corona Updates can collect device contacts.[13]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can collect the device’s contact list.[14]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has accessed the contact list.[15]

S0507 eSurv

eSurv can exfiltrate the device’s contact list.[16]

S0522 Exobot

Exobot can access the device’s contact list.[17]

S0405 Exodus

Exodus Two can download the address book.[18]

S1080 Fakecalls

Fakecalls can copy and exfiltrate a device’s contact list.[19]

S0509 FakeSpy

FakeSpy can collect the device’s contact list.[20]

S0408 FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy can collect device contacts.[21]

S1067 FluBot

FluBot can retrieve the contacts list from an infected device.[22]

S0423 Ginp

Ginp can download the device’s contact list.[23]

S0535 Golden Cup

Golden Cup can collect the device’s contact list.[24]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has collected a list of contacts.[15]

S0421 GolfSpy

GolfSpy can obtain the device’s contact list.[25]

S0536 GPlayed

GPlayed can access the device’s contact list.[26]

S0406 Gustuff

Gustuff can collect the contact list.[27]

S0544 HenBox

HenBox can access the device’s contact list.[28]

S1128 HilalRAT

HilalRAT can retrieve a device’s contact list.[29]

S1077 Hornbill

Hornbill can collect device contacts.[30]


INSOMNIA can collect the device’s contact list.[31]

S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can access the device’s contact list.[32]

S0407 Monokle

Monokle can retrieve the device's contact list.[33]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas accesses the device contact list.[34]

S0316 Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android accesses contact list information.[35]

S0289 Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS gathers contacts from the system by dumping the victim's address book.[36]

S1126 Phenakite

Phenakite can exfiltrate the victim device’s contact list.[37]

S0539 Red Alert 2.0

Red Alert 2.0 can collect the device’s contact list.[38]

S0403 Riltok

Riltok can access and upload the device's contact list to the command and control server.[39]

S0411 Rotexy

Rotexy can access and upload the contacts list to the command and control server.[40]

S0549 SilkBean

SilkBean can access device contacts.[15]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer harvests contact lists from victims.[41]

S0305 SpyNote RAT

SpyNote RAT can view contacts.[42]

S0328 Stealth Mango

Stealth Mango uploads contact lists for various third-party applications such as Yahoo, AIM, GoogleTalk, Skype, QQ, and others.[43]

S1082 Sunbird

Sunbird can exfiltrate a device's contacts.[30]

S1069 TangleBot

TangleBot can request permission to view device contacts.[44]

S0558 Tiktok Pro

Tiktok Pro can access the device's contact list.[45]

S0506 ViperRAT

ViperRAT can collect the device’s contact list.[46]

G0112 Windshift

Windshift has included contact list exfiltration in the malicious apps deployed as part of Operation BULL.[47]

S0489 WolfRAT

WolfRAT can collect the device’s contact list.[48]


ID Mitigation Description
M1011 User Guidance

Contact list access is an uncommonly needed permission, so users should be instructed to use extra scrutiny when granting access to their contact list.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0041 Application Vetting Permissions Requests

Application vetting services could look for android.permission.READ_CONTACTS in an Android application’s manifest, or NSContactsUsageDescription in an iOS application’s Info.plist file. Most applications do not need contact list access, so extra scrutiny could be applied to those that request it.

DS0042 User Interface System Settings

On both Android and iOS, the user can manage which applications have permission to access the contact list through the device settings screen, revoking the permission if necessary.


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