[ Technical Analysis: Scoop.apk ]

[ How it starts ]
I started to write about this particular malware before Christmas in 2014 but it was left sitting in the draft for so long until i decided to take a break from #EquationAPT today. It all started when i got a sms as shown below.

Figure 1 – Initial SMS

I hardly take any photos and the Sarah i knew don’t even SMS me. So i found a bit weird. So what is special about this sample was that it uses a technique typical of computer worms to spread itself.

This particular piece of malware rely on social engineering to convince the user to click on the shortened link in the sms and install/run the malicious APK package.

[ Sample used in the analysis ]
MD5: 9187B180E741312AA0FF36EF6FE7DC51
SHA1: 322ABA633607F635F5581E8D7F53794566BCB80B
Malware Sample: Scoop
Password is “infected29A

[ Initial Analysis ]
Since it’s an Android malware, let’s check the permissions of this malware and further dissect it. Now, use apktool and run the following command:

Now let’s take a look at the AndroidManifest.xml file, you should see the following and the permissions requested by the APK file.

As you can see from the AndroidManifest.xml, it ask for quite a lot of permissions.

[ SMS Propagation ]
One of the more interesting functions that i’ve found is how it tried to spread itself.
As you can see from the image below.
Figure 2 – The worm’s SMS sending code

What is rather typical of this malware is that it is leaking SMS messages, call history & contact lists of the victim(s).
One of the characteristic of this malware is that it will fetch data from one of the hardcoded URLs in the APK with a HTTP POST.
The typical data that it will fetch will look like the code snippet below.

Other interesting stuff is that it will go to “http://topemarketing.com/app[.]html” to fetch a new copy of Scoop.apk

The malicious url in the SMS, https://bit[.]ly/s_-c will redirect you to http://secret-message[.]net/

This malicious page will refresh and direct user to this malicious .APK file.

As i’ve already done quite a number of articles on reversing Android Malware.  Today we will be going through other stuff which might aid us in our investigation and see how this malware operate. The interesting thing here is we can see the statistics kindly provided to us by Bit.ly for all Bit.ly shortened URLs by appending a “+” sign without the double quotes like this:

You will see the stats as of then when i analyse this .apk. From the statistics given, we can see that most of the target(s) are from Singapore. 🙁


Figure 3 – Statistics of bit.ly url

What is even more interesting sir, the same author of the malicious .APK file actually got several other domains spreading same .APK file.
You can check out the other shortened bit.ly links by the same guy here.

Interestingly, one of the links leads to the Android app in PlayStore.


Figure 4 – Another app by Malware Author

Sadly, the app was removed before i downloaded it.  The URL in the PlayStore belongs to same domain as the other malicious links.

Could it be same guy? 😛

topemarketing[.]com points to
tombolaworld[.]com points to
secret-message[.]net points to

One other interesting thing is…2 of the domains are bought around 2009 and 2010 and expired in 2011 according to who.is as shown here. http://who.is/domain-history/topemarketing.com

But did this guy bought them in 2014?
Or did she/he bought all those expired domains so that user(s) might think it’s still legit. Or it had been the malware author all along and she/he decides to use WhoisGuard later on.  Probably need the whois records to verify here. 🙁

The worm is targeted mostly against Singapore and French Android users according to the statistics from Bit.ly.  Not sure why the domains are still alive.  Our advice to user(s) on how they can protect themselves effectively are:

  1. Restrict the installation of applications from unknown source
  2. Don’t click on suspicious links as Malware authors might use it as their social engineering tricks
  3. Always use an updated anti-virus solution on your Android device if you don’t know how to analyse the application

Happy Reversing,
Jacob Soo

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