Welcome to the VB2021 conference!

Security: the hidden cost of Android stalkerware

Lukas Štefanko (ESET)
partner message

Stay ahead of threats with VirusTotal

https://www.virustotal.com/

Stay ahead of the next generation of threats and get relevant insights to solve

the most critical security challenges.

partner message

We don’t just talk about sharing. We do it every day.

https://www.cyberthreatalliance.org/about-cta

Learn how to collaborate with the Cyber Threat Alliance to improve your overall cyber resilience.

We are a greater team when we work together; our collective efforts magnifies our success and

ensures that we are and remain cyber resilient.

partner message

Threat Intelligence and Cyber Resilience

https://vblocalhost.com/programme/#TIPS

Join the VB2021 Threat Intelligence Practitioners' Summit (TIPS), sponsored by the Cyber Threat Alliance,

and learn how investment in threat intelligence builds cyber resilience, allowing you to be more effective

when addressing today's dynamic threat landscape.

partner message

Amazon Information Security - come build the future with us!

https://www.amazon.jobs/en-gb/team/infosec

Do you want to work on privacy and security challenges at unprecedented scale?

We have Privacy and Information Security opportunities available now across

the United States, Dublin, Ireland, and Sydney, Australia.

partner message

IoT security begins with your Smart TV

https://chomar.link/smarttv

CHOMAR Smart TV Security.

Protect your Android Smart TV against malicious activities and use your IoT devices without any worries.

partner message

Looking for performance validation for your product?

https://www.virusbulletin.com/testing/

Get an edge over your competitors with Virus Bulletin’s anti-malware & email security certification

programmes, supported by 30+ years of experience. Or take advantage of our bespoke testing service

offering valuable performance feedback for R&D. Email [email protected]

partner message

Farsight Security DNSDB® is the world's largest real-time and historical database of DNS resolutions

https://www.farsightsecurity.com/get-started-guide/

DNSDB 2.0 introduces Flexible Search support, unlocking both Regular Expressions and Globbing syntaxes for more granular and accurate search results. Get your free DNSDB API key and use it in our newly updated

web GUI, DNSDB Scout as well as your own existing environments. Contextualize everything that is DNS related with one API key - DNSDB.

partner message

Ransomware prevention starts with zero

https://www.zscaler.com/solutions/security-transformation/ransomware-protection

Ransomware attacks are increasing 500% year-over-year.

Learn how Zscaler's Zero Trust Exchange helps minimize exposure, damage, and risk

at every stage of a ransomware attack.

partner message

Calling all Hackers!

https://www.ise.io/careers/#op-470256-hacker-midseniorprincipal

We are hiring mid-senior-principal level hackers!

Remote option • Flex schedule • Unlimited vacation • Opportunities for research and publication

partner message

F5 helps find malware hiding in plain sight

https://www.f5.com/company/blog/half-the-world-s-malware-is-now-encrypted

Encrypted malware is becoming increasingly common, and daisy-chaining security devices is neither

cost-effective, nor efficient. Detecting and stopping malware doesn’t have to be overwhelming with

F5’s innovative products.

partner message

QI-ANXIN Technology Group Inc. Leader of New Generation Cybersecurity

https://ti.qianxin.com/marketing/vb2021/

QI-ANXIN Technology Group Inc. offers next generation enterprise-class cybersecurity products

and services to government and businesses. QI-ANXIN is the Official Cyber Security Services and

Anti-Virus Software Sponsor of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

partner message

VirusTotal: Actionable crowdsourced threat intelligence

https://www.virustotal.com/

Comprehensive context and cutting-edge functionality to proactively protect from cybersecurity threats.

partner message

Do you like doing work that matters to you… and really frustrates the bad guys?

https://talosintelligence.com/careers

At Talos, our mission is to make the internet a safer place and fight the good fight for our customers

and users. If you think you have the expertise and attitude to help lead the world in cutting-edge security,

we’d like to talk.

Android stalkerware, a.k.a. spouseware, is a popular threat sold legally through various websites. Based on our telemetry, the number of detections of stalkerware in 2020 rose by 48% compared to 2019. Because of its popularity, and customers' willingness to pay and trust stalkerware vendors, we decided to inspect the most popular families to analyse their security.

We will cover over 80 different families of Android stalkerware and focus on security analyses of their code. Since stalkerware is known to spy on users, it gathers, transmits and stores user PII. Considering that, basic security principals should be followed. Most of these apps are not free. Many times the buyer of this product is in close relationship with the victim, which means that data leaks might impact both parties significantly.

We discovered serious vulnerabilities both in the Android apps and on their servers that, once exploited, could result in serious user impact such as account takeover, PII data leaks (photos, videos, phone call records, phone number, SMS, call logs, Facebook and WhatsApp messages, etc.), removing accounts without authorization, leaking of credentials over the network and on-device, admin console access without restriction, allowing identification of the buyer of the stalkerware or possibly even using fabricated evidence to frame the spied upon person.

We also identified reuse of the same source code (including the security issues) for different stalkerware products being sold under different names on different websites. This probably means that there is one group of developers controlling "different" stalkerware products.

In 64% of analysed apps we identified the possibility to extract internal data of stalkerware applications during forensics analysis that might help to identify the stalker, the period of infiltration and what data were gathered from victim’s device.

Apparently, these developers don’t care about their clients or their data: we reported various security issues to these service providers; only around 12% have fixed these issues. Some of our reports were made over a year ago. This talk will help to create an accurate picture of these shady apps, their false claims, security issues, and the developers' lack both of ethics and of responsibility to their clients and their data.

Got a question about this presentation? To get in touch with the speaker, contact Lukas on Twitter at @LukasStefanko.
Lukas Štefanko
ESET

Lukas is a malware researcher with a strong engineering background and a well-demonstrated focus on Android malware research and security. With more than nine years’ experience with malware, he has been focusing on improving detection mechanisms of Android malware and in the past couple of years has made major strides towards heightening public awareness around mobile threats and app vulnerabilities.