After the source code of the Android banking Trojan GM Bot was leaked online, the malware’s developer announced the release of a new version that has a much higher price tag.
GM Bot is capable of displaying phishing pages on top of mobile banking applications, stealing information from websites, intercepting SMS messages, forwarding phone calls, and spying on victims. Variations of GM Bot are known as MazarBot, SlemBunk, Bankosy, Acecard and Slempo.
After the source code of GM Bot v1 was leaked by an individual who wanted to boost his reputation on an underground forum, the malware’s developer and vendor, known as “GanjaMan,” announced the release of GM Bot v2, which he claims was written from scratch.
According to IBM Security, GanjaMan said the new version of GM Bot includes three different Android exploits that can be used to infect devices. While these exploits target vulnerabilities that have been patched by Google, the author plans on adding other exploits in the coming months.
The developer has also promised to add a Tor communication channel and a feature that roots infected devices in order to make it more difficult to remove the threat. Rooting infected smartphones also gives cybercriminals the ability to download other malware onto infected devices and control them remotely.
The previous version of GM Bot was sold for $5,000, but the new variant, which is currently in a testing phase, is three times more expensive. The complete GM Bot v2 package, which includes the malware and exploits, costs $15,000 and an additional $2,000 monthly rental fee that must be paid starting with the second month of use.
Cybercriminals who want to pay less can acquire a package that does not include exploits for $8,000 and a $1,200 monthly rental fee.
“Judging by past cases of underground malware vendors, the monthly rental fees are most likely technical support fees. Trojan vendors have been known to run into debilitating operational issues as a result of having to provide support to their buyers without getting paid for the extra time spent on resolving issues, bugs and technical questions. The monthly fee concept helps the developers hire tech support agents to handle requests while they continue to develop and sell the malware,” explained Limor Kessem, cybersecurity evangelist at IBM.
IBM says GanjaMan is also looking for individuals who can help install the malware on devices and ones who can direct traffic in countries targeted by GM Bot buyers.
GanjaMan launched the first version of GM Bot in October 2014, when it was the only threat providing spyware, SMS hijacking, and phishing page overlay capabilities. IBM researchers later discovered that the distribution rights for GM Bot were sold to another developer who renamed the malware to Mazar Bot.
GanjaMan released a new GM Bot variant in March 2015, which he dubbed “Skunk.” He is also responsible for the creation of GM Loader, a malware downloader designed for mobile devices.