Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location

Adversaries may match or approximate the name or location of legitimate files or resources when naming/placing them. This is done for the sake of evading defenses and observation. This may be done by giving artifacts the name and icon of a legitimate, trusted application (i.e., Settings), or using a package name that matches legitimate, trusted applications (i.e.,

Adversaries may also use the same icon of the file or application they are trying to mimic.

ID: T1655.001
Sub-technique of:  T1655
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Android, iOS
MTC ID: APP-14, APP-31
Contributors: Ford Qin, Trend Micro; Liran Ravich, CardinalOps
Version: 1.0
Created: 12 July 2023
Last Modified: 08 September 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0440 Agent Smith

Agent Smith can impersonate any popular application on an infected device, and the core malware disguises itself as a legitimate Google application. Agent Smith's dropper is a weaponized legitimate Feng Shui Bundle.[1]

S0525 Android/AdDisplay.Ashas

Android/AdDisplay.Ashas has mimicked Facebook and Google icons on the "Recent apps" screen to avoid discovery and uses the package name to avoid detection.[2]

S0524 AndroidOS/MalLocker.B

AndroidOS/MalLocker.B has masqueraded as popular apps, cracked games, and video players. [3]

S0422 Anubis

Anubis has requested accessibility service privileges while masquerading as "Google Play Protect" and has disguised additional malicious application installs as legitimate system updates.[4][5]

S0540 Asacub

Asacub has masqueraded as a client of popular free ads services.[6]


BOULDSPY has been installed using the package name, pretending to be an Android system service.[7]

G0097 Bouncing Golf

Bouncing Golf distributed malware as repackaged legitimate applications, with the malicious code in the package.[8]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal has impersonated several apps, including official Google apps, chat apps, VPN apps, and popular games.[9]

S0480 Cerberus

Cerberus has pretended to be an Adobe Flash Player installer.[10]

S1083 Chameleon

Chameleon has disguised itself as other applications, such as a cryptocurrency app called ‘CoinSpot’, and IKO bank in Poland. It has also used familiar icons, such as the Chrome and Bitcoin logos.[11]


CHEMISTGAMES has masqueraded as popular South Korean applications.[12]

S0301 Dendroid

Dendroid can be bound to legitimate applications prior to installation on devices.[13]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has been embedded into trojanized versions of applications such as Voxer, TalkBox, and Amaq News.[9]

S0320 DroidJack

DroidJack included code from the legitimate Pokemon GO app in order to appear identical to the user, but it also included additional malicious code.[14]

S0478 EventBot

EventBot has used icons from popular applications.[15]

S0522 Exobot

Exobot has used names like WhatsApp and Netflix.[16]

S1080 Fakecalls

Fakecalls has masqueraded as popular Korean banking apps.[17]

S0509 FakeSpy

FakeSpy masquerades as local postal service applications.[18]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has masqueraded as fake updates to chat applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, LINE, and LoveChat, as well as apps targeting Middle Eastern demographics.[19]

S0423 Ginp

Ginp has masqueraded as "Adobe Flash Player" and "Google Play Verificator".[20]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has inserted trojan functionality into legitimate apps, including popular apps within the Uyghur community, VPNs, instant messaging apps, social networking, games, adult media, and Google searching.[9]

S0536 GPlayed

GPlayed has used the Play Store icon as well as the name "Google Play Marketplace".[21]

S0544 HenBox

HenBox has masqueraded as VPN and Android system apps.[22]

S1077 Hornbill

Hornbill has impersonated chat applications such as Fruit Chat, Cucu Chat, and Kako Chat.[23]

S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can mimic an app called "Storage Settings" if it cannot hide its icon.[24]

G1019 MoustachedBouncer

MoustachedBouncer has used legitimate looking filenames for malicious executables including MicrosoftUpdate845255.exe.[25]

S0539 Red Alert 2.0

Red Alert 2.0 has masqueraded as legitimate media player, social media, and VPN applications.[26]

S0549 SilkBean

SilkBean has been incorporated into trojanized applications, including Uyghur/Arabic focused keyboards, alphabets, and plugins, as well as official-looking Google applications.[9]

S0419 SimBad

SimBad was embedded into legitimate applications.[27]

S0558 Tiktok Pro

Tiktok Pro has masqueraded as TikTok.[28]

S0418 ViceLeaker

ViceLeaker was embedded into legitimate applications using Smali injection.[29]

S0506 ViperRAT

ViperRAT’s second stage has masqueraded as "System Updates", "Viber Update", and "WhatsApp Update".[30]

S0489 WolfRAT

WolfRAT has masqueraded as "Google service", "GooglePlay", and "Flash update".[31]

S0314 X-Agent for Android

X-Agent for Android was placed in a repackaged version of an application used by Ukrainian artillery forces.[32]

S0318 XLoader for Android

XLoader for Android has masqueraded as an Android security application.[33]


ID Mitigation Description
M1011 User Guidance

Users should be encouraged to only install apps from authorized app stores, which are less likely to contain malicious repackaged apps.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0041 Application Vetting API Calls

Application vetting services may potentially determine if an application contains suspicious code and/or metadata.

DS0042 User Interface System Notifications

Unexpected behavior from an application could be an indicator of masquerading.


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  15. D. Frank, L. Rochberger, Y. Rimmer, A. Dahan. (2020, April 30). EventBot: A New Mobile Banking Trojan is Born. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  16. Threat Fabric. (2017, February). Exobot - Android banking Trojan on the rise. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  17. Igor Golovin. (2022, April 11). Fakecalls: a talking Trojan. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  1. O. Almkias. (2020, July 1). FakeSpy Masquerades as Postal Service Apps Around the World. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  2. Michael Flossman. (2017, October 5). FrozenCell: Multi-platform surveillance campaign against Palestinians. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  3. ThreatFabric. (2019, November). Ginp - A malware patchwork borrowing from Anubis. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  4. V. Ventura. (2018, October 11). GPlayed Trojan - .Net playing with Google Market . Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  5. A. Hinchliffe, M. Harbison, J. Miller-Osborn, et al. (2018, March 13). HenBox: The Chickens Come Home to Roost. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  6. Apurva Kumar, Kristin Del Rosso. (2021, February 10). Novel Confucius APT Android Spyware Linked to India-Pakistan Conflict. Retrieved June 9, 2023.
  7. 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.
  8. Faou, M. (2023, August 10). MoustachedBouncer: Espionage against foreign diplomats in Belarus. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  9. J. Chandraiah. (2018, July 23). Red Alert 2.0: Android Trojan targets security-seekers. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  10. Elena Root, Andrey Polkovnichenko. (2019, March 13). SimBad: A Rogue Adware Campaign On Google Play. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  11. S. Desai. (2020, September 8). TikTok Spyware. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  12. GReAT. (2019, June 26). ViceLeaker Operation: mobile espionage targeting Middle East. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  13. M. Flossman. (2017, February 16). ViperRAT: The mobile APT targeting the Israeli Defense Force that should be on your radar. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  14. W. Mercer, P. Rascagneres, V. Ventura. (2020, May 19). The wolf is back... . Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  15. CrowdStrike Global Intelligence Team. (2016). Use of Fancy Bear Android Malware in Tracking of Ukrainian FIeld Artillery Units. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  16. Hiroaki, H., Wu, L., Wu, L.. (2019, April 2). XLoader Disguises as Android Apps, Has FakeSpy Links. Retrieved July 20, 2020.