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T1404 Exploit OS Vulnerability

A malicious app can exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system to obtain escalated privileges.

Item Value
ID T1404
Tactics TA0029
Platforms Android, iOS
Version 1.0
Created 25 October 2017
Last Modified 17 October 2018

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0440 Agent Smith Agent Smith exploits known OS vulnerabilities, including Janus, to replace legitimate applications with malicious versions.12
S0293 BrainTest Some original variants of BrainTest had the capability to automatically root some devices, but that behavior was not observed in later samples.5
S0550 DoubleAgent DoubleAgent has used exploit tools to gain root, such as TowelRoot.15
S0420 Dvmap Dvmap attempts to gain root access by using local exploits.11
S0405 Exodus Exodus Two attempts to elevate privileges by using a modified version of the DirtyCow exploit.10
S0182 FinFisher FinFisher comes packaged with ExynosAbuse, an Android exploit that can gain root privileges.9
S0290 Gooligan Gooligan executes Android root exploits.3
S0322 HummingBad HummingBad can exploit unfixed vulnerabilities in older Android versions to root victim phones.8
S0463 INSOMNIA INSOMNIA exploits a WebKit vulnerability to achieve root access on the device.13
S0316 Pegasus for Android Pegasus for Android attempts to exploit well-known Android OS vulnerabilities to escalate privileges.4
S0289 Pegasus for iOS Pegasus for iOS exploits iOS vulnerabilities to escalate privileges.7
S0294 ShiftyBug ShiftyBug is packed with at least eight publicly available exploits that can perform rooting.1
S0327 Skygofree Skygofree has the capability to exploit several known vulnerabilities and escalate privileges.2
S0324 SpyDealer SpyDealer uses the commercial rooting app Baidu Easy Root to gain root privilege and maintain persistence on the victim.6
S0494 Zen Zen can obtain root access via a rooting trojan in its infection chain.14


ID Mitigation Description
M1005 Application Vetting Application vetting may be able to identify the presence of exploit code within applications.
M1001 Security Updates -
M1006 Use Recent OS Version -


  1. Michael Bentley. (2015, November 4). Lookout discovers new trojanized adware; 20K popular apps caught in the crossfire. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 

  2. Nikita Buchka and Alexey Firsh. (2018, January 16). Skygofree: Following in the footsteps of HackingTeam. Retrieved September 24, 2018. 

  3. Check Point Research Team. (2016, November 30). More Than 1 Million Google Accounts Breached by Gooligan. Retrieved December 12, 2016. 

  4. Mike Murray. (2017, April 3). Pegasus for Android: the other side of the story emerges. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 

  5. Chris Dehghanpoor. (2016, January 6). Brain Test re-emerges: 13 apps found in Google Play Read more: Brain Test re-emerges: 13 apps found in Google Play. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 

  6. Wenjun Hu, Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu. (2017, July 6). SpyDealer: Android Trojan Spying on More Than 40 Apps. Retrieved September 18, 2018. 

  7. Lookout. (2016). Technical Analysis of Pegasus Spyware. Retrieved December 12, 2016. 

  8. Dan Goodin. (2016, July 7). 10 million Android phones infected by all-powerful auto-rooting apps. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 

  9. Blaich, A., et al. (2018, January 18). Dark Caracal: Cyber-espionage at a Global Scale. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 

  10. Security Without Borders. (2019, March 29). Exodus: New Android Spyware Made in Italy. Retrieved September 3, 2019. 

  11. R. Unuchek. (2017, June 8). Dvmap: the first Android malware with code injection. Retrieved December 10, 2019. 

  12. A. Hazum, F. He, I. Marom, B. Melnykov, A. Polkovnichenko. (2019, July 10). Agent Smith: A New Species of Mobile Malware. Retrieved May 7, 2020. 

  13. A. Case, D. Lassalle, M. Meltzer, S. Koessel, et al.. (2020, April 21). Evil Eye Threat Actor Resurfaces with iOS Exploit and Updated Implant. Retrieved June 2, 2020. 

  14. Siewierski, L. (2019, January 11). PHA Family Highlights: Zen and its cousins . Retrieved July 27, 2020. 

  15. A. Kumar, K. Del Rosso, J. Albrecht, C. Hebeisen. (2020, June 1). Mobile APT Surveillance Campaigns Targeting Uyghurs - A collection of long-running Android tooling connected to a Chinese mAPT actor. Retrieved November 10, 2020. 

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