ESET researchers have identified an updated version of Android GravityRAT spyware being distributed as the messaging apps BingeChat and Chatico. GravityRAT is a remote access tool known to be used since at least 2015 and previously used in targeted attacks against India. Windows, Android, and macOS versions are available, as previously documented by Cisco Talos, Kaspersky, and Cyble. The actor behind GravityRAT remains unknown; we track the group internally as SpaceCobra.
Most likely active since August 2022, the BingeChat campaign is still ongoing; however, the campaign using Chatico is no longer active. BingeChat is distributed through a website advertising free messaging services. Notable in the newly discovered campaign, GravityRAT can exfiltrate WhatsApp backups and receive commands to delete files. The malicious apps also provide legitimate chat functionality based on the open-source OMEMO Instant Messenger app.
The creation of WhatsApp backups is intended to facilitate the migration of users’ message history, media files, and data to different or new devices.
While it’s crucial to be aware that these backups may include unencrypted sensitive data like:-
- A new version of Android GravityRAT spyware being distributed as trojanized versions of the legitimate open-source OMEMO Instant Messenger Android app.
- The trojanized BingeChat app is available for download from a website that presents it as a free messaging and file sharing service.
- This version of GravityRAT is enhanced with two new capabilities: receiving commands to delete files and exfiltrating WhatsApp backup files.