We at K7 Labs, recently came across an email message as shown in Figure 1, from Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) about SpyNote, an Android RAT targeting IRCTC users. This spyware is not only used to steal users’ sensitive information but can also spy on a user’s location or remotely control the victims’ device.

Figure 1: Email Notification from IRCTC

Let’s now get into the details of how this SpyNote works.

This RAT is propagated via WhatsApp with the malicious link https://irctc[.]creditmobile[.]site/irctcconnect[.]apk

Once the user falls prey to this RAT and installs this malicious “irctcconnect.apk”, this app pretends to be the genuine IRCTC icon in the device app drawer as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Fake IRCTC icon


Once this RAT is installed on the device, it frequently brings up the Accessibility Service setting option on the device, as shown in Figure 3, until the user eventually allows this app to have the Accessibility Service enabled.

Figure 3: Request for Accessibility Service

Technical Analysis

 With the necessary permissions as shown in Figure 3, this APK acts as a Trojan with Keylogger capabilities. It creates a directory “Config/sys/apps/log“, in the devices’ external storage and the logs are saved to the file “log-yyyy-mm-dd.log” in the created directory, where yyyy-mm-dd is the date of when the keystrokes were captured as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Creating Log files

This malware collects location information like altitude, latitude, longitude, precision and even the speed at which the device is moving as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Collects the device location information

SpyNote then proceeds to combine all the aforementioned data and compresses (using gZIPOutputStream API) them before forwarding it to the C2 server as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: DATA compression using gZIPOutputStream

C2 Communication

This RAT contacts the C2 server online[.]spaxdriod[.]studio at IP 154.61.76[.]99, which is hardcoded in Figure 7. 

Figure 7: Hardcoded C2 URL

Figure 8 shows the connection established with the C2.

Figure 8: TCP connection with the C2 server

After the connection is established, the malware sends the gzip compressed data to the C2 as evident from the network packet’s header in Figure 9.

Figure 9: gzip data sent by the device after establishing the connection with the C2 Server

The decompressed gzip content of the data is shown below in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Decompressed gzip data showing IP address

Decoding packets from the C2

The C2 responds by sending a series of compressed data,  which when decompressed, is revealed to be system commands and the related APK payload as shown in Figure 11. In our case, the APK was extracted using Cyberchef.

Figure 11: Getting commands and APK file from C&C server

We analyzed the C&C command ‘info’ and the associated APK. This command collects the clipboard data and verifies the victims’ device for the presence of a hardcoded list of mobile security products, may be with the aim of disabling them or forwarding the info to the C2.

Figure 12: Collects the clipboard information

Figure 13: Checks for the presence of security related products

The structure of the commands sent from the C2 to victims’ device is as follows:

Figure 14: Commands sent by C2

At K7, we protect all our customers from such threats. Do ensure that you protect your mobile devices with a reputable security product like K7 Mobile Security and also regularly update and scan your devices with it. Also keep your devices updated and patched against the latest vulnerabilities.

Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

Package NameHashDetection Name
com.appser.verapp45c154af52c65087161b8d87e212435aSpyware ( 0056a7b31 )







Defense EvasionApplication Discovery Obfuscated Files or Information, Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion
DiscoverySecurity Software Discovery, System Information Discovery
CollectionEmail Collection, Data from Local System
Command and ControlEncrypted Channel, NonStandard Port

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our top stories.

If you want to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please submit the form below.

    0 replies on “SpyNote targets IRCTC users”