Android FluBot Malware – spreading rapidly across Europe, might target the US!

FluBot is a banking malware that is specifically attacking Android phones and stealing bank details and passwords from your device. Like Covid-19, this malware has spread across a wide range of English speaking countries rapidly causing some irreparable damage. 

FluBot uses “smishing” – phishing using SMS and text messages. These attacks have seen a huge rise in the recent past. 

The Impact of the Attack 

Originated in Spain, then spread to Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and UK,  the malware is believed to have made over 7,000 victims in the UK alone, where the campaign operators were using more than 700 unique domains for the distribution of FluBot. 

Proofpoint says that U.S. users have already started receiving German and English-language phishing SMS messages, suggesting that the threat actor is getting ready to expand to this country. The pattern is similar to how the attacks started in the UK, where users first received German messages and then English ones.

Infection Stages


Here, an SMS with a malicious link is sent to the user disguising as famous delivery service organisations such as DHL & FedEx, on an hourly basis.

The malware requires user interaction to get access to the Android device. 


On clicking the link you’re redirected to a fake website, where you have to download an APK. 

Permission Acquisition

During the installation of this fake app, a misleading prompt appears asking for full access to SMS and networking, address book including device management.

The Attack

The malware after acquiring complete permissions carries out the malicious activity which includes and is not limited to

  1. Reading and forwarding sensitive SMS/OTPs
  2. Screen overlays on net banking apps to capture the passwords entered by the user
  3. Intercepting incoming messages and notifications, 
  4. Opening webpages.
  5. Disabling Google Play Protect. 
  6. It also can uninstall other applications. 
  7. It will also access contact details and send out additional text messages, spreading the spyware further.

Protection & Precaution 

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warns users about this malware and its methodology, where you are obligated to download a tracking app because of a missed package.  It recommends Android users to practice following precautions 

  1. Do not click on links in unsolicited messages.
  2. Do not download APK from any website, other than Google Play Store.
  3. Do not give unnecessary permissions while installing an APK downloaded from a reliable source.
  4. Scan your Android device frequently with a legitimate anti-malware application.
  5. Never store passwords or banking information locally on your Android device.
  6. If you have used a phone for internet banking, double-check your account with the bank and report any fraudulent activity immediately.

As long as systems are using passwords, adversaries will find various ways and tools to steal them. We highly recommend that enterprises adopt passwordless authentication for critical services.


Credential stuffing Attacks on VPN: Serious Risk for Enterprise

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) systems are widely used by enterprises to provide secure remote access to their employees. VPN allows for easy access to the infrastructure, but it also opens up the corporate network to the internet.

All VPNs use password-based authentication which is susceptible to various types of attacks. Many enterprises use 2FA to mitigate such risks. However, attackers can steal the keys and even 2FA may not be enough. Once the attackers are on the network, they have unrestricted liberty of action or decision: MITM attacks, Credential stuffing, and other attacks become viable.

In recent times of the pandemic, where work-from-home is the new normal, VPN hacks have become a headache for many companies’ security teams with severe consequences if they are successful.

Virtual private networks, No Longer Private

The point of a Virtual Private Network is to enjoy the encryption and security of local networks while not being at a remote location, through an encrypted tunnel, keeping intruders out. The point of VPNs becomes moot if the people you want to hide your data & resources from can actually access them by being in the tunnel with you.

Close to a thousand VPN servers were compromised and the credentials of users and admin accounts stolen by attackers. This allows anyone to login into these networks until these credentials are revoked.

While all the limelight is being captured by ransomware attacks these days, VPN hacks have been hitting headlines for a decade now. Data was stolen from Lockheed Martin in 2011, after the attackers gained network access through their VPN, using leaked SecureID tokens from RSA is one of many stories, we haven’t learned much from.

Another bone-chilling story; The attack on Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region was carried out by getting on the VPN network electrical infrastructure by using stolen credentials. This left half of the region without electricity for several hours.

Affected EntityRoot CauseImpact
Avast AntivirusStolen credentialsAdversaries modified the CCleaner distributed by Avast .
Lockheed MartinCVE-2011-0609Critical data related to the defence contracts leaked.
Pulse SecureCVE-2019-115101000 enterprises are at risk of ransomware attacks.
Ukraine Power gridMalwarePower grid taken offline leading to no electricity for thousands.
List of the most serious VPN attacks due to stolen credentials

Secure Authentication for VPNs

Learning from the above incidents; stolen credentials are a serious risk even for VPN and 2FA is not helping. Its also evident, in case a CVE is out there for your VPN, you should not avoid the patch but you can avoid passwords with much more ease and convenience. Going passwordless is a very effective way to provide secure & resilient authentication to VPNs.

Check out how Ajit accesses our Palo Alto GlobalProtect without passwords.

Our PureAUTH passwordless authentication platform integrates with all leading VPN solutions including Pulse Secure, Fortinet & Cisco AnyConnect. To know more you can get in touch with our team.

Ever increasing Office365 Credential Phishing Campaigns

In the advent of widespread electronic communication we relied on a password for verifying the identity of a person. As it turns out, passwords are not secure enough to trust most information with. Two Factor Authentication to the rescue! right? Well, it’s not so easy.

As systems have become secure, the attackers have shifted their focus on capitalizing on the weakest link – Humans. While 2FA has somewhat solved the problem of people using ‘password’ or ‘1234’ as their passwords, it cannot fix the inherent problem with humans. We make decisions based on our knowledge which is flawed most of times. Attackers take advantage of this to carry out social engineering attacks such as phishing.

Risk of Phishing attacks

Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report 2019 observed Phishing was used in 32% of confirmed breaches, and also 78% of cyber-espionage cases. Additionally, VDBIR also states that 29% breaches involved the use of stolen credentials which again is commonly accomplished through phishing attacks.

Due to the large number of successful phishing attacks, VDBIR mentions it as a #1 Threat Action

Phishing attacks on Office 365

As such, there have been multiple attacks against Microsoft’s Office 365 platform which hosts productivity apps and documents, very important to businesses.

This phishing campaign uses Google’s Ads services to get around secure email gateways. Here you can see how blindly trusting anyone, even Google, can backfire.

Zoom Phishing mail
(source: Abnormal Security)

Office 365 Phishing page
(source: Abnormal Security)

With the popularity of Zoom skyrocketing, the attackers have been bandwagoning onto the new attack vector to target Office 365 logins. The trick they used is to rush the users by making them believe that their Zoom account might get suspended. Oh! The horror of not attending a meeting!

They have also used fake Teams alert, Relief payments, VPN configs to try to get your Office logins. Looks like they desperately want your office 365 credentials.

All the more reason to protect yourself against such attacks.

Effective Mitigation for Phishing: Go Passwordless

When all the training campaigns are failing & URL checking anti phishing measures are proving to be far more intrusive, you can effectively mitigate the risk of Phishing by going Passwordless. 

With PureAuth passwordless authentication, you can effectively mitigate the risk of having your password stolen by phishing and a number of other methods. 

Try out PureAUTH, which offers passwordless secure access to not just Office 365 but many other services like AWS, GCP, G-Suite, Microsoft Azure and others.

Protection Against Credential Stealing Mobile Apps

In the recent news by we have learnt that Google was ‘forced’ again, this time by Evina Research group, to remove 25 credential stealing apps from its Android play store with 2.34 Million combined installations.

Out of the 25 listed applications, PureID Security Team analysed few, to learn modus-operandi of these apps.

Abstract of Technical Analysis

App Chosen : Super Wallpapers Flashlight
Purpose : Offers fancy wallpapers and flashlight like utility
Permission : extensive permissions that gives the app more control on a device than needed
Malicious Behaviour : In-mobile phishing

Other Comments : The most popular application among the 25 apps removed by google

Analysis Details

Step 1 : Gathering Permission

The app on installation collects (2) additional permission to access storage and ability to take pictures and record video which normally are not needed for normal functioning of such apps.

More permissions

Step 2 : Intercepting Facebook app invoke

Whenever a user launches the facebook app, Super Wallpaper Flashlight app detects it and launches in a webview, thus making the user think facebook app needs credentials.

hxxp:// being rendered in webview with malicious javascript

Step 3 : Credential harvesting

Once a user presents credentials to the facebook login page in the webview, Super Wallpaper Flashlight app uses malicious javascript to harvest those credentials. 

elements of malicious javascript
credentials collected at getLoginOne()
credentials in WebFBUtils

Step 4: Credentials exfiltration

Here is the code snippet to exfiltrate the harvested credentials to the hxxp:// site, which is an active website with mandarin characters indicating it as a Chinese website.

Exfiltration of credentials harvested in WebFBUtils with a post request to

Step 5 : Quick analysis of

The last our team checked the website, it was still active and 2 engines at virustotal flags it as a (malicious/benign) website.

virustotal report
Virustotal report of hxxp://

Why is this case interesting?

Assuming the cost and efforts of setting up + distribution of in-mobile phishing apps versus web based phishing kits are similar, the in-mobile phishing attacks have higher success rates according to this decade old study and it still holds true. This effectiveness makes In-mobile phishing attacks more lucrative for attackers. 

Just like Facebook, we will be seeing credentials of Gmail, mobile-banking and other important applications being targeted.

Protection against credential stealing apps

Enterprises spend a significant amount of money, time and resources to train their employees to prevent phishing attacks. All the training modules focus on desktop/browser based phishing sites. Detecting in-mobile phishing attacks is very difficult even for a well trained person.

Going passwordless proves to be an effective solution in such cases, where user never needs to present any credentials to access enterprise services.

A word of caution here; choosing right type of passwordless solution becomes important as most of the passwordless solutions are designed to make desktop based applications passwordless and not mobile based apps.

Here is a simple demo of how PureAUTH makes GMail application passwordless.


In-mobile phishing attacks are getting mainstream. Going Passwordless is the best strategy to protect enterprise users from phishing attacks. PureAUTH covers you comprehensively on every surface and all devices.