MoqHao Android Malware Evolves with Auto-Execution Capability

MoqHao Android Malware Evolves with Auto-Execution Capability

Threat hunters have identified a new variant of Android malware called MoqHao that automatically executes on infected devices without requiring any user interaction.

The campaign’s targets include Android users located in France, Germany, India, Japan, and South Korea.

MoqHao, also called Wroba and XLoader (not to be confused with the Windows and macOS malware of the same name), is an Android-based mobile threat that’s associated with a Chinese financially motivated cluster dubbed Roaming Mantis (aka Shaoye).

Typical attack chains commence with package delivery-themed SMS messages bearing fraudulent links that, when clicked from Android devices, lead to the deployment of the malware but redirect victims to credential harvesting pages impersonating Apple’s iCloud login page when visited from an iPhone.

The latest iteration of MoqHao continues to be distributed via smishing techniques, but what has changed is that the malicious payload is run automatically upon installation and prompts the victim to grant it risky permissions without launching the app, a behavior previously spotted with bogus apps containing the HiddenAds malware.

MoqHao Android Malware

MoqHao is equipped with several features that allow it to stealthily harvest sensitive information like device metadata, contacts, SMS messages, and photos, call specific numbers with silent mode, and enable/disable Wi-Fi, among others.

The infections are made possible by tricking users into installing booby-trapped apps for streaming pirated movies and TV shows through sketchy websites. The campaign was first disclosed by Russian antivirus vendor Doctor Web in September 2023.

“Once installed, these devices transform into operational nodes within their illicit streaming media platform, catering to services like traffic proxying, DDoS attacks, OTT content provision, and pirate traffic,” QiAnXin researchers said.