Hackers Targeting Brazil’s PIX Payment System to Drain Users’ Bank Accounts

Two newly uncovered destructive Android applications on Google Perform Retail outlet have been applied to target buyers of Brazil’s quick payment ecosystem in a probably endeavor to entice victims into fraudulently transferring their whole account balances into yet another lender account under cybercriminals’ command.

“The attackers dispersed two different variants of banking malware, named PixStealer and MalRhino, via two individual malicious applications […] to carry out their assaults,” Look at Level Research mentioned in an examination shared with The Hacker News. “Both of those destructive apps had been intended to steal funds of victims via consumer interaction and the initial PIX software.”

The two applications in question, which were being uncovered in April 2021, have due to the fact been removed from the application retail outlet.

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Launched in November 2020 by the Central Bank of Brazil, the country’s monetary authority, Pix is a condition-owned payments platform that allows customers and organizations to make money transfers from their bank accounts devoid of necessitating debit or credit rating playing cards.

PixStealer, which was located distributed on Google Participate in as a phony PagBank Cashback provider app, is built to vacant a victim’s resources to an actor-managed account, even though MalRhino — masquerading as a cell token app for Brazil’s Inter financial institution — comes with superior features required to acquire the checklist of mounted applications and retrieve PIN for specific banks.


“When a user opens their PIX bank application, Pixstealer shows the sufferer an overlay window, where the person cannot see the attacker’s moves,” the researchers explained. “Driving the overlay window, the attacker retrieves the available amount of money of funds and transfers the dollars, generally the full account stability, to a different account.”

What unites PixStealer and MalRhino is that the two the applications abuse Android’s accessibility company to conduct destructive actions on the compromised gadgets, creating them the newest addition to a lengthy checklist of cellular malware that leverages the permission to perpetrate info theft.

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Precisely, the bogus overlay comes with a message “Synchronizing your access… Do not change off your cellular monitor” when, in truth, the malware queries for the “Transfer” button to conduct the transfer making use of a series of accessibility APIs.

The MalRhino variant also stands out for its use of Mozilla’s Java-based mostly Rhino JS framework to run JavaScript instructions within specific banking programs, but not prior to convincing the consumer to change on accessibility companies.

“This procedure is not normally made use of on cell malware and shows how malicious actors are acquiring progressive to steer clear of detection and get inside of Google Enjoy,” the researchers stated. “With the increasing abuse of the Accessibility Assistance by mobile banking malware, buyers ought to be cautious of enabling the related permissions even in the apps distributed through recognized application shops these kinds of as Google Play.”

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