New Spyware Threatens Telegram’s 200 Million Users
A new piece of spyware, designed to steal sensitive information from users of the messaging app Telegram, is for sale on the black market.
Trojan-delivered Masad Stealer and Clipper was clocked by researchers at Juniper Threat Labs. The spyware uses Telegram as a command and control (CnC) channel to cloak itself in a veil of anonymity.
After installing itself on the computer of a Telegram user, Masad Stealer busies itself collecting information stored on the system, such as browser passwords, autofill browser field data, and desktop files. The spyware also automatically replaces cryptocurrency wallets from the clipboard with its own.
Other information vulnerable to an attack perpetrated through Masad Stealer includes credit card browser data, FileZilla files, steam files, browser cookies, PC and system information, and installed software and processes.
Masad Stealer is being advertised for sale in several hack forums, making it an active and ongoing threat. Buyers can pick up a variety of versions, ranging from a free one to a premium package costing $85, with each tier of the malware offering different features.
Researchers at Juniper said: “Masad Stealer sends all of the information it collects—and receives commands from—a Telegram bot controlled by the threat actor deploying that instance of Masad. Because Masad is being sold as off-the-shelf malware, it will be deployed by multiple threat actors who may or may not be the original malware writers.”
Masad Stealer is written using Autoit scripts and then compiled into an executable Windows file. Most of the samples discovered by Juniper were 1.5 MiB in size; however, the spyware has also been strutting around in larger executables and has been spotted bundled into other software.
Telegram, which celebrated its sixth birthday in August, has over 200 million monthly active users. While its platform may have been breached, the app is fully confident in its ability to protect the privacy of messages sent by its users.
The app claims on its website to be “more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line” and offers anyone who can decipher a Telegram message up to $300,000 in prize money.