New Android Malware ‘FluHorse’ Targeting East Asian Markets with Deceptive Tactics

May 5, 2023IRavie LakshmananMobile Security / Android

Android malware

Several sectors of East Asian markets have been subjected to a new email phishing campaign that distributes a previously undocumented variety of Android malware called FluHorse which abuses the Flutter software development framework.

“The malware includes several malicious Android apps that mimic legitimate apps, most of which have more than 1,000,000 installs,” Check Point said in a technical report. “These malicious apps steal victims’ credentials and two-factor authentication (2FA) codes.”

Malicious apps have been found to mimic apps like ETC and VPBank Neo, which are used in Taiwan and Vietnam. Evidence collected so far shows that the activity has been active since at least May 2022.

Cyber ​​security

The phishing scheme itself is quite simple, where victims are lured with emails containing links to a fake website that hosts malicious APK files. Checks are also added to the website that aim to filter out victims and serve the app only if the browser’s user-agent string matches Android’s.

Once installed, the malware requests permissions via SMS and asks the user to enter their credentials and credit card information, all of which is then exfiltrated to a remote server in the background while asks the victim to wait a few minutes.

Android malware

Threat actors also abuse their access to SMS messages to intercept all incoming 2FA codes and redirect them to the command and control server.

The Israeli cybersecurity firm said it also identified a dating app that redirects Chinese-speaking users to rogue landing pages designed to capture credit card information.


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Interestingly, the malicious functionality is implemented using Flutter, an open source user interface software development kit that can be used to develop cross-platform applications from a single code base.

While threat actors are known to use a variety of tricks such as evasion techniques, obfuscation, and long pre-execution delays to resist analysis and navigate virtual environments, using Flutter marks a new level of sophistication.

“Malware developers did not put much effort into programming, instead relying on Flutter as a development platform,” the researchers concluded.

“This approach allowed them to create dangerous and mostly undetected malicious applications. One of the advantages of using Flutter is that its hard-to-analyze nature renders many contemporary security solutions worthless.”

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A new malicious android application is making the rounds on East Asian markets and the latest reports about it has left many users worried. Named ‘FluHorse’, this malicious software is being used to deceive customers by displaying fake app download links on various webpages, often targeting people in Eastern Asian countries. The software is capable of collecting user data, as well as spreading malicious other malware-laced apps with malicious payloads.

Ikaroa, a full-stack tech company whose mission is to keep user data secure, is advising users to be extra cautious while navigating online. Making sure that their antivirus software is up to date and running (Ikaroa provides a robust antivirus and anti-malware solution) and downloading applications and software from trusted sources are some of the safety protocols that need to be followed in order to ensure user safety from FluHorse and other malicious applications and malware. Furthermore, using a secure web browser that is updated and secure, such as Chrome for Android is also advised to ensure maximum security against cyber risks and malicious threats lurking online.

Given the sophistication of this new malware, it is essential for people to be more aware about potential malicious threats. Educating oneself and understanding the basics of staying secure online are some of the key things that can be done to ensure user safety from malicious applications like FluHorse. Platforms that offer real-time malware protection, such as Ikaroa, play an instrumental role in protecting users against real-time threats.

Ultimately, it is paramount that users remain vigilant and aware of the latest trends in cyber security and malicious threats, such as the FluHorse malware, in order to ensure a safe and secure experience online.


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