Hundreds Targeted in Recent Roaming Mantis Campaign

Hundreds of users have been targeted with malware over the past month as part of attacks that Kaspersky Lab has linked to last year’s Roaming Mantis campaign.

The attacks, which included the spreading of phishing links within malicious SMS messages (SMiShing), mainly impacted users in Russia, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Vietnam.

From February 25 to March 20, 2019, Kaspersky detected Roaming Mantis-related malware over 6,800 times for more than 950 unique users.

“We believe this attack wave has a much bigger scale and these numbers reflect only a small part of this campaign,” the security firm says.

The latest wave of attacks employed a new method of phishing with malicious mobile configurations, but the attackers also continued to use the previously observed DNS manipulation technique.

The major change in these attacks, compared to previous Roaming Mantis attacks, is the use of a new landing page to target iOS devices, where users are prompted to install a malicious iOS mobile configuration.

Once the configuration has been installed, the phishing site is automatically launched in a web browser and information from the device is collected and sent to the attackers.

Android users are also targeted, but with malware that Trend Micro refers to as XLoader and McAfee tracks as MoqHao. As part of the campaign, the actors also compromised routers to overwrite DNS settings.

A URL query of a malicious DNS changer is used to compromise router DNS settings, but only under the following conditions: no authentication for the router’s control panel from the localnet; the device has an admin session for the router panel; and a simple username and password (or default) are used for the router, such as admin:admin.

Kaspersky says several hundred routers have been compromised, with all of them pointed to the rogue DNS IPs.

“This wave is characterized by a new attack method of phishing with malicious mobile config, although the previously observed DNS manipulation is also still actively used. We find the use of malicious mobile config especially alarming as this may cause serious problems for the users,” Kaspersky concludes.

Related: XLoader Trojan Poses as Security App for Android

Related: Android Trojan Spreads via DNS Hijacking

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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