Security researchers observed attackers using unofficial webpages in an attempt to target Russian financial institutions with the Geost banking Trojan.

By reverse engineering a sample of Geost, Trend Micro learned that digital attackers primarily relied on unofficial webpages with randomly generated server hostnames to distribute the banking Trojan. As such, the malware specifically targeted Android users without access to the Google Play store and those inclined to search for programs not available on Google’s official Android marketplace.

One sample discovered by Trend Micro arrived in an application with the name “установка,” which is Russian for “setting.” The app used the Google Play logo to trick users into downloading it from an obscure web server. Unsurprisingly, this program hid its logo upon successful installation. It then demanded that its victims grant it important administrator privileges, including the ability to access SMS messages for the purpose of receiving confirmation text messages from Russian banking services.

Other Malware Threats Confronting Russian Banks

Geost first attracted the security community’s attention in October 2019. At that time, Virus Bulletin published a research paper detailing the activities of the Trojan. This briefing revealed that the malware had infected 800,000 victims at the time of discovery.

It’s important to note that Geost isn’t the first banking Trojan that’s targeted Russian financial institutions. Back in June 2019, for instance, Kaspersky Lab discovered that new variants of the Riltok Trojan family had expanded beyond their normal scope of Russian banks to include organizations in France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

How to Defend Against the Geost Banking Trojan

Security professionals can help their organizations defend against the Geost banking Trojan and similar threats by preventing employees from downloading apps from unofficial marketplaces onto their work devices. Infosec personnel should also invest in a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution for the purpose of automatically uninstalling infected mobile apps upon detection.

More from

Securing Your SAP Environments: Going Beyond Access Control

Many large businesses run SAP to manage their business operations and their customer relations. Security has become an increasingly critical priority due to the ongoing digitalization of society and the new opportunities that attackers exploit to achieve a system breach. Recent attacks related to corrupt data, stealing personal information and escalating privileges for remote code execution all highlight the new and varied entry points threat actors have taken advantage of. Attackers with the appropriate skills could be able to exploit…

Who Carries the Weight of a Cyberattack?

Almost immediately after a company discovers a data breach, the finger-pointing begins. Who is to blame? Most often, it is the chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO) because protecting the network infrastructure is their job. Heck, it is even in their job title: they are the security officer. Security is their responsibility. But is that fair – or even right? After all, the most common sources of data breaches and other cyber incidents are situations caused…

Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Encryption

With their vast increase in computing power, quantum computers promise to revolutionize many fields. Artificial intelligence, medicine and space exploration all benefit from this technological leap — but that power is also a double-edged sword. The risk is that threat actors could abuse quantum computers to break the key cryptographic algorithms we depend upon for the safety of our digital world. This poses a threat to a wide range of critical areas. Fortunately, alternate cryptographic algorithms that are safe against…

Abuse of Privilege Enabled Long-Term DIB Organization Hack

From November 2021 through January 2022, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responded to an advanced cyberattack on a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) organization’s enterprise network. During that time frame, advanced persistent threat (APT) adversaries used an open-source toolkit called Impacket to breach the environment and further penetrate the organization’s network. Even worse, CISA reported that multiple APT groups may have hacked into the organization’s network. Data breaches such as these are almost always the result of compromised endpoints…