A new Android banking Trojan, which masquerades as a Flash Player app, targeting customers of at least 90 major banks across the US and Europe has been uncovered. The malware can be considered to be highly advanced and dangerous, especially given its ability to bypass SMS-based two-factor authentication.

Some of the banking apps targeted by the malware include Deutsche Bank, Santander, American Express, Coinbase, Credit Karma, Paypal and Wells Fargo, among others.

Fortinet security researcher Kai Lu said, "Active users of mobile banking apps should be aware of a new Android banking malware campaign targeting customers of large banks in the United States, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, Poland, and Austria. This banking malware can steal login credentials from 94 different mobile banking apps.

"The app displays a screen overlay on top of any other apps. If the user clicks the 'CANCEL' button, the view is closed, and then restarts. This way it is always displayed on top of the screen. Once the user clicks the 'ACTIVATE' button to remove the request, the malware is granted full device administrator rights. The Flash Player icon is then hidden from the launcher, but the malware remains active in the background."

The banking Trojan also comes with the ability to target some of the more popular social media apps, including Google play store, Calculator, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter, Viber, Instagram, and Snapchat.

According to security researchers, upon installation, the fake Flash Player app appears in the launcher and when opened, the malware tricks users into granting it administrative privileges. Once administrative rights are enabled, the app's "self-defence mechanism" prohibits the malware from being uninstalled from the device.

The malware can intercept SMS messages, which in turn provides it with the ability to bypass SMS-based two-factor authentication. The malware can also send and upload SMS messages and perform a factory reset. Moreover, it collects device information such as ISO country code, device IMEI, model and build version, phone number and more and sends the data to its C&C (command and control) server.

Lu noted, "These targeted banks are from the United States, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, Poland and Austria.The malware also uses a screen overlay with a fake login window to lure users to submit their login credentials for the apps, and then sends them to its C&C server."

Malware removal

Fortunately, the banking Trojan can be removed from an infected device. The simplest way to remove the Trojan is to disable the malware's administrative rights manually. This can be done by going to Settings, scrolling to Security and then Device administrators then clicking on Google Play Services, which finally leads to the Deactivate option. Once admin rights have been deactivated, users can then navigate to Apps within Settings, head to Flash Player Update and click on Uninstall.

It is still unclear as to how many victims the malware has already infected. It is unknown as to where the malicious app was found and most downloaded by users. Those who suspect that their device may have been infected, especially in the event that payment card details were shared, would be best served to contact their bank to revoke/reissue new cards.