Android Cerberus malware can hack Google Authenticator

Cerberus now has remote access trojan capabilities

An Android malware strain is now capable of stealing one-time passcodes (OTP) from the popular Google Authenticator app, security researchers have warned.

According to a report published this week by ThreatFabric, the Cerberus Trojan virus has been restructured and enhanced with the ability to steal multi-factor authentication (2FA) tokens from the Google Authenticator application.

Google Authenticator was launched in 2010 in order to make 2FA more secure. The application replaces the need to use SMS messaging to deliver OTPs, as that way they can be intercepted when travelling through insecure mobile networks. Instead, the codes are generated on the user’s smartphone and are valid for 30 seconds only.

The Cerberus malware was discovered last year as an Android banking Trojan. However, it was recently enhanced with RAT (Remote Access Trojan) abilities, significantly increasing its threat level.

As well as being able to tamper with the authenticator application, the Cerberus can also steal device screen-lock credentials - PIN codes and swipe patterns alike, allowing the hackers to “remotely unlock the device in order to perform fraud when the victim is not using the device”.

Related Resource

6 ways your business could suffer if you don’t backup Office 365

Office 365 makes it easy to lose valuable data regularly, unpredictably, unintentionally, and for good

Download now

According to ThreatFabric, Cerberus can target communication applications such as Gmail, Outlook, and Telegram, as well as numerous banking applications, including Lloyds Bank Mobile Banking, Wells Fargo Mobile, and Santander.

“We believe that this variant of Cerberus is still in the test phase but might be released soon,” ThreatFabric warned in their blog post.

“Having an exhaustive target list including institutions from all over the world, combined with its new RAT capability, Cerberus is a critical risk for financials offering online banking services.”

Earlier this month, Google purged as many as 24 Android applications from the Google Play Store, after they were found to harbour malware and rogueware. The apps, which totalled in 382 million active installations, were all linked to Chinese tech firm Shenzhen HAWK.

Featured Resources

Modern governance: The how-to guide

Equipping organisations with the right tools for business resilience

Free Download

Cloud operational excellence

Everything you need to know about optimising your cloud operations

Watch now

A buyer’s guide to board management software

Improve your board’s performance

The real world business value of Oracle autonomous data warehouse

Lead with a 417% five-year ROI

Download now

Most Popular

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better
Laptops

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better

14 Jan 2022
Sony pulls out of MWC 2022
Business operations

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022

14 Jan 2022
Openreach offers £20,000 reward for information on stolen copper cables
broadband

Openreach offers £20,000 reward for information on stolen copper cables

21 Jan 2022