Android malware using TOR anonymity network makes a debut

Using TOR makes it more difficult to trace the command-and-control server

A malware program for Android that uses the TOR network can collect SMSes and other sensitive data from a phone.

A malware program for Android that uses the TOR network can collect SMSes and other sensitive data from a phone.

Kaspersky Lab has spotted malware for the Android mobile operating system employing the TOR anonymity network, a development previously only seen on Windows.

TOR, short for The Onion Router, is software that offers users a greater degree of privacy when browsing the Internet by routing encrypted traffic between a user and a website through a network of worldwide servers. TOR can also be used to host websites on a hidden network.

The Android malware uses a TOR website as a command-and-control server, wrote Roman Unuchek of Kaspersky. Command-and-control servers are used to send instructions to the malware.

Adding TOR functions to desktop malware programs is nothing new. The latest finding shows hackers are increasingly targeting powerful mobile devices, which often hold valuable personal data. The malware can intercept SMSes, and collect other data, such as a user's phone number, the device's IMEI and the country where the device is located and request GPS coordinates.

TOR-enabled websites, which included ones such as now defunct Silk Road marketplace, are denoted by ".onion" at the end of their URL. TOR websites are difficult to trace because the network masks the site's true IP address, making it difficult to know which hosting company supports it.

Unuchek wrote that using a TOR site as a command-and-control server makes it "impossible to shut down."

The malware, which Kaspersky calls "Backdoor.AndroidOS.Torec.a" uses a package of software, called Orbot developed by The TOR Project that enables TOR on Android.

The malware doesn't try to pretend to be Orbot in an attempt to get people to download it but instead "simply uses the functionality" of the Orbot client, Unuchek wrote.

Adam Kujawa, lead of the Malware Intelligence Team at Malwarebytes, wrote on his company's blog that the malware may be known as "Slempo" and be part of a botnet called "Stoned Cat." Advertisements seen by Malwarebytes show that the cost of renting the botnet is US$1,000 up front and then a $500 monthly subscription fee, he wrote.

Using TOR may make the malware's communication harder to trace but also puts a strain on a mobile device.

"We recommend keeping an eye out for any data usage increases from your mobile device, over-power consumption (running a constant TOR connection will no doubt drain your battery faster than otherwise) and any other kinds of odd behavior," Kujawa wrote.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Android OSsecurityencryptionmalwarekaspersky lab

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?