For the first time, hacked websites deliver Android malware

Lookout Mobile Security has spotted the first malware to automatically load itself onto Android devices via hacked websites

Analysts with Lookout Mobile Security have found websites that have been hacked to deliver malicious software to devices running Android, an apparent new attack vector crafted for the mobile operating system.

The style of attack is known as a drive-by download and is common on the desktop: When someone visits a hacked website, malware can transparently infect the computer if it doesn't have up-to-date patches.

"This appears to be the first time that compromised websites have been used to distribute malware targeting Android devices," Lookout wrote on its blog.

Lookout said it noticed that "numerous" websites had been compromised to execute the attack, although those sites had low traffic. The company expects the impact to Android users will be low. The malware that tries to install itself, dubbed "NotCompatible," appears to be a TCP relay or a proxy.

"This threat does not currently appear to cause any direct harm to a target device, but could potentially be used to gain illicit access to private networks by turning an infected Android device into a proxy," Lookout said. "This feature in itself could be significant for system IT administrators: a device infected with NotCompatible could potentially be used to gain access to normally protected information or systems, such as those maintained by enterprise or government."

NotCompatible will automatically start downloading if the hacked website detects an Android device is visiting by looking at the web browser's user-agent string, which specifies the device's operating system.

The hacked websites have an hidden iframe, which is a window that brings other content into the target Web site, at the bottom of a page. The iframe causes the browser to pull content from two other malicious websites hosting NotCompatible. If a PC accesses either of those websites, a "not found" error is displayed, Lookout said.

After the malware downloads, the device will ask a user to install the application. But for it to be installed, the Android device's settings must have "unknown sources" enabled, Lookout said. If the setting is not enabled, only applications from the Android Market, now called the Google Play store, can be installed.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?