Alien, the malware that steals the password of WhatsApp, Instagram, and 200 other apps

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A team of researchers from the security firm ThreatFabric has discovered a new malware for Android: it is called Alien and can steal the password of more than 200 applications, including WhatsApp.

Researchers explain that Alien is a new Trojan that has been active since the early 2020s. According to its report, it is not an Android virus designed from scratch but is based on an old acquaintance: Cerberus.

This malware was active over the past year as a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS), available for sale on clandestine forums so that anyone could buy it and launch malicious campaigns. Google managed to detect and clean Cerberus-infected mobiles, which meant the end of this Trojan. Its creator tried to sell its source code, but since it didn't get it, it finally published it for free on the Dark Web.

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The creators of Alien have taken the Cerberus code to develop their malware, which is part of a very dangerous new generation of banking Trojans. And once you have infected a device, this virus may perform a wide range of malicious functions, beyond displaying fake home screens of banking apps to steal your credentials.

Apart from obtaining the financial data of victims and accessing their e-banking profiles, Alien can impersonate the login screen of more than 200 popular password-stealing apps. Among them are the most popular instant messaging apps and social networks, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can check the full list here.

And that's not all. In addition to taking the passwords of hundreds of apps, it also has features to record keystrokes, provide remote access to a device, collect or send SMS, steal the contact book, collect device details and app list, send geographic location data, forward calls, install and launch other apps, lock the screen to simulate ransomware, and a long etcetera.

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Since it is a MaaS, security researchers point out that the infection pathways are very varied, so be very careful. It can be distributed via phishing campaigns that trick victims into downloading software or attachments, via fake SMS or malicious apps.

To keep your phone from becoming infected, don't install apps from unreliable sources, don't download attachments included in emails from strangers, and don't visit links that reach you in suspicious text messages.

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