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T1409 Access Stored Application Data

Adversaries may access and collect application data resident on the device. Adversaries often target popular applications such as Facebook, WeChat, and Gmail.1

This technique requires either escalated privileges or for the targeted app to have stored the data in an insecure manner (e.g., with insecure file permissions or in an insecure location such as an external storage directory).

Item Value
ID T1409
Tactics TA0035, TA0031
Platforms Android, iOS
Version 2.0
Created 25 October 2017
Last Modified 10 October 2019

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0655 BusyGasper BusyGasper can collect data from messaging applications, including WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook.16
S0529 CarbonSteal CarbonSteal can collect notes and data from the MiCode app.14
S0505 Desert Scorpion Desert Scorpion can collect account information stored on the device.12
S0550 DoubleAgent DoubleAgent has accessed browser history, as well as the files for 15 other apps.14
S0405 Exodus Exodus Two extracts information from Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, IMO, Skype, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, and WeChat.1
S0509 FakeSpy FakeSpy can collect account information stored on the device, as well as data in external storage.13
S0408 FlexiSpy FlexiSpy uses a FileObserver object to monitor the Skype and WeChat database file and shared preferences to retrieve chat messages, account information, and profile pictures of the account owner and chat participants. FlexiSpy can also spy on popular applications, including Facebook, Hangouts, Hike, Instagram, Kik, Line, QQ, Snapchat, Telegram, Tinder, Viber, and WhatsApp.3
S0577 FrozenCell FrozenCell has retrieved account information for other applications.15
S0551 GoldenEagle GoldenEagle has extracted messages from chat programs, such as WeChat.14
S0485 Mandrake Mandrake can collect all accounts stored on the device.11
S0399 Pallas Pallas retrieves messages and decryption keys for popular messaging applications and other accounts stored on the device.10
S0316 Pegasus for Android Pegasus for Android accesses sensitive data in files, such as messages stored by the WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter applications. It also has the ability to access arbitrary filenames and retrieve directory listings.8
S0289 Pegasus for iOS Pegasus for iOS accesses sensitive data in files, such as saving Skype calls by reading them out of the Skype database files.7
S0295 RCSAndroid RCSAndroid can collect contacts and messages from popular applications, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, WeChat, Hangouts, Telegram, and BlackBerry Messenger.4
S0327 Skygofree Skygofree has a capability to obtain files from other installed applications.5
S0324 SpyDealer SpyDealer exfiltrates data from over 40 apps such as WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and others.6
S0329 Tangelo Tangelo accesses databases from WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Line.9


ID Mitigation Description
M1005 Application Vetting Ensure applications do not store data in an insecure fashion, such as in unprotected external storage, without acknowledging the risk that the data can potentially be accessed or modified by other applications.
M1006 Use Recent OS Version Most new versions of mobile operating systems include patches to newly discovered privilege escalation exploits used to root or jailbreak devices. Further, applications that target Android API level 28 or higher on Android 9.0 and above devices have a policy applied that prevents other applications from reading or writing data in their internal storage directories, regardless of file permissions.2


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

  2. Google. (n.d.). Behavior changes: apps targeting API level 28+. Retrieved September 18, 2019. 

  3. K. Lu. (n.d.). Deep Technical Analysis of the Spyware FlexiSpy for Android. Retrieved September 10, 2019. 

  4. Veo Zhang. (2015, July 21). Hacking Team RCSAndroid Spying Tool Listens to Calls; Roots Devices to Get In. Retrieved December 22, 2016. 

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

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

  9. Lookout. (n.d.). Stealth Mango & Tangelo. Retrieved September 27, 2018. 

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

  11. R. Gevers, M. Tivadar, R. Bleotu, A. M. Barbatei, et al.. (2020, May 14). Uprooting Mandrake: The Story of an Advanced Android Spyware Framework That Went Undetected for 4 Years. Retrieved July 15, 2020. 

  12. A. Blaich, M. Flossman. (2018, April 16). Lookout finds new surveillanceware in Google Play with ties to known threat actor targeting the Middle East. Retrieved September 11, 2020. 

  13. O. Almkias. (2020, July 1). FakeSpy Masquerades as Postal Service Apps Around the World. Retrieved September 15, 2020. 

  14. 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. 

  15. Michael Flossman. (2017, October 5). FrozenCell: Multi-platform surveillance campaign against Palestinians. Retrieved November 11, 2020. 

  16. Alexey Firsh. (2018, August 29). BusyGasper – the unfriendly spy. Retrieved October 1, 2021. 

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