Vodafone Spain Distributing Mariposa Malware

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Just a week after supplying an infected Android phone to a worker at Panda Security, Vodafone Spain has once again managed to pass out a malware infected HTC Magic phone to a researcher at S21Sec.

The write-up on the Panda Research Blog, including technical analysis of the infector can be found here:

Vodafone distributes Mariposa botnet

How they managed to do it twice within the same month is beyond my comprehension, didn’t they learn anything the first time round – or do they just not care?

Vodafone Spain has again supplied a HTC Magic smartphone that came pre-infected with the Mariposa botnet client and other malware crud.

The second incident, involving an Android-based phone supplied to a researcher at S21Sec, comes a week after the mobile phone giant supplied the same type of infection on the identical model of phone to a worker at Spanish anti-virus firm Panda Security.

The S21Sec pre-pwned smartphone kerfuffle undermines Vodafone’s assurances at the time of the Panda flap that the incident was “isolated and local”. Both smartphones were ordered at around the same time towards the beginning of March.

It seems very likely the phone is from the same watch which rules out this being an isolated and local incident with the phone being infected outside of the delivery mechanism.

This second detection of an infection indicates that the phones are infected before delivery somehow, the infection is on the MicroSD card provided with the phone so the supplier of that item may be the culprit.

Yah there has been no infections outside of Spain..but then Vodafone UK did discontinue distribution of the HTC Magic in favour of supplying HTC Tattoo as its sole Android device.

The S21Sec worker detected the malware after he plugged it into his PC using a copy of AVG’s scanner. Aware of Panda’s previous work, he forwarded an infected microSD drive to PandaLabs Pedro Bustamante, who carried out an analysis published here.

“According to the dates of the files, it seems his Vodafone HTC Magic was loaded with the Mariposa bot client on March 1st, 2010 at 19:07, a little over a week before the phone was delivered to him directly from Vodafone,” Bustamante writes.

“The Mariposa botnet client itself is exactly the same as reported last week, with the same nickname and same Command & Control servers.”

The circumstances of the infection point to problems in Vodafone’s QA or with a specific batch of phones rather than a stray infection of a refurbished phone.

I wonder how many more of these infected phones are out there and how many people have been unwittingly turned into mariposa botnet zombies?

Not everyone works at an AV firm or a security research company and treats their devices so carefully.

It’ll be interesting to see if any more infections pop-up in the near future.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Hardware Hacking, Malware

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