Skip to content

T1430 Location Tracking

Adversaries may track a device’s physical location through use of standard operating system APIs via malicious or exploited applications on the compromised device.

On Android, applications holding the ACCESS_COAURSE_LOCATION or ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permissions provide access to the device’s physical location. On Android 10 and up, declaration of the ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION permission in an application’s manifest will allow applications to request location access even when the application is running in the background.2 Some adversaries have utilized integration of Baidu map services to retrieve geographical location once the location access permissions had been obtained.51

On iOS, applications must include the NSLocationWhenInUseUsageDescription, NSLocationAlwaysAndWhenInUseUsageDescription, and/or NSLocationAlwaysUsageDescription keys in their Info.plist file depending on the extent of requested access to location information.3 On iOS 8.0 and up, applications call requestWhenInUseAuthorization() to request access to location information when the application is in use or requestAlwaysAuthorization() to request access to location information regardless of whether the application is in use. With elevated privileges, an adversary may be able to access location data without explicit user consent with the entitlement key.4

Item Value
ID T1430
Sub-techniques T1430.001, T1430.002
Tactics TA0035, TA0032
Platforms Android, iOS
Version 1.2
Created 25 October 2017
Last Modified 20 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S1061 AbstractEmu AbstractEmu can access a device’s location.14
S0309 Adups Adups transmitted location information.26
S0304 Android/Chuli.A Android/Chuli.A stole geo-location data.29
S0292 AndroRAT AndroRAT tracks the device location.30
S0422 Anubis Anubis can retrieve the device’s GPS location.21
S0655 BusyGasper BusyGasper can collect the device’s location information based on cellular network or GPS coordinates.27
S0529 CarbonSteal CarbonSteal can access the device’s location and track the device over time.20
S0480 Cerberus Cerberus can collect the device’s location.39
S0323 Charger Charger checks the local settings of the device and does not run its malicious logic if the device is located in Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus.15
S0555 CHEMISTGAMES CHEMISTGAMES has collected the device’s location.23
S0425 Corona Updates Corona Updates can track the device’s location.22
S0505 Desert Scorpion Desert Scorpion can track the device’s location.38
S0507 eSurv eSurv can track the device’s location.24
S0405 Exodus Exodus Two can extract the GPS coordinates of the device.12
S0182 FinFisher FinFisher tracks the latitude and longitude coordinates of the infected device.36
S0408 FlexiSpy FlexiSpy can track the device’s location.7
S0577 FrozenCell FrozenCell has used an online cell tower geolocation service to track targets.17
S0535 Golden Cup Golden Cup can track the device’s location.16
S0551 GoldenEagle GoldenEagle has tracked location.20
S0421 GolfSpy GolfSpy can track the device’s location.13
S0536 GPlayed GPlayed can request the device’s location.19
S0544 HenBox HenBox can track the device’s location.1
S0463 INSOMNIA INSOMNIA can track the device’s location.4
S0485 Mandrake Mandrake can collect the device’s location.9
S0407 Monokle Monokle can track the device’s location.33
S0399 Pallas Pallas tracks the latitude and longitude coordinates of the infected device.36
S0289 Pegasus for iOS Pegasus for iOS update and sends the location of the phone.31
S0291 PJApps PJApps has the capability to collect and leak the victim’s location.30
S0295 RCSAndroid RCSAndroid can record location.32
S0549 SilkBean SilkBean has access to the device’s location.20
S0327 Skygofree Skygofree can track the device’s location.37
S0324 SpyDealer SpyDealer harvests location data from victims.5
S0305 SpyNote RAT SpyNote RAT collects the device’s location.34
S0328 Stealth Mango Stealth Mango can perform GPS location tracking as well as capturing coordinates as when an SMS message or call is received.25
S0329 Tangelo Tangelo contains functionality to gather GPS coordinates.25
S1069 TangleBot TangleBot can request location permissions.18
S0558 Tiktok Pro Tiktok Pro can track the device’s location.35
S0418 ViceLeaker ViceLeaker can collect location information, including GPS coordinates.1011
S0506 ViperRAT ViperRAT can track the device’s location.8
G0112 Windshift Windshift has included location tracking capabilities in the malicious apps deployed as part of Operation BULL and Operation ROCK.40
S0314 X-Agent for Android X-Agent for Android was believed to have been used to obtain locational data of Ukrainian artillery forces.28


ID Mitigation Description
M1012 Enterprise Policy If devices are enrolled using Apple User Enrollment or using a profile owner enrollment mode for Android, device controls prevent the enterprise from accessing the device’s physical location. This is typically used for a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) deployment.
M1014 Interconnection Filtering Filtering requests by checking request origin information may provide some defense against spurious operators.6
M1006 Use Recent OS Version On Android 11 and up, users are not prompted with the option to select “Allow all the time” and must navigate to the settings page to manually select this option. On iOS 14 and up, users can select whether to provide Precise Location for each installed application.
M1011 User Guidance Users should be wary of granting applications dangerous or privacy-intrusive permissions, such as access to location information. Users should also protect their account credentials and enable multi-factor authentication options when available.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0041 Application Vetting Permissions Requests
DS0042 User Interface System Settings


  1. A. Hinchliffe, M. Harbison, J. Miller-Osborn, et al. (2018, March 13). HenBox: The Chickens Come Home to Roost. Retrieved September 9, 2019. 

  2. Android Developers. (2022, March 24). Request Location Permissions. Retrieved April 1, 2022. 

  3. Apple Developers. (n.d.). Requesting Authorization for Location Services. Retrieved April 1, 2022. 

  4. I. Beer. (2019, August 29). Implant Teardown. Retrieved June 2, 2020. 

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

  6. Communications Security, Reliability, Interoperability Council (CSRIC). (2017, March). Working Group 10 Legacy Systems Risk Reductions Final Report. Retrieved May 24, 2017. 

  7. Actis B. (2017, April 22). FlexSpy Application Analysis. Retrieved September 4, 2019. 

  8. M. Flossman. (2017, February 16). ViperRAT: The mobile APT targeting the Israeli Defense Force that should be on your radar. Retrieved September 11, 2020. 

  9. 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. 

  10. GReAT. (2019, June 26). ViceLeaker Operation: mobile espionage targeting Middle East. Retrieved November 21, 2019. 

  11. L. Arsene, C. Ochinca. (2018, August 20). Triout – Spyware Framework for Android with Extensive Surveillance Capabilities. Retrieved January 21, 2020. 

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

  13. E. Xu, G. Guo. (2019, June 28). Mobile Cyberespionage Campaign ‘Bouncing Golf’ Affects Middle East. Retrieved January 27, 2020. 

  14. P Shunk, K Balaam. (2021, October 28). Rooting Malware Makes a Comeback: Lookout Discovers Global Campaign. Retrieved February 6, 2023. 

  15. Oren Koriat and Andrey Polkovnichenko. (2017, January 24). Charger Malware Calls and Raises the Risk on Google Play. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 

  16. R. Iarchy, E. Rynkowski. (2018, July 5). GoldenCup: New Cyber Threat Targeting World Cup Fans. Retrieved October 29, 2020. 

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

  18. Felipe Naves, Andrew Conway, W. Stuart Jones, Adam McNeil . (2021, September 23). TangleBot: New Advanced SMS Malware Targets Mobile Users Across U.S. and Canada with COVID-19 Lures. Retrieved February 28, 2023. 

  19. V. Ventura. (2018, October 11). GPlayed Trojan - .Net playing with Google Market . Retrieved November 24, 2020. 

  20. 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. 

  21. M. Feller. (2020, February 5). Infostealer, Keylogger, and Ransomware in One: Anubis Targets More than 250 Android Applications. Retrieved April 8, 2020. 

  22. T. Bao, J. Lu. (2020, April 14). Coronavirus Update App Leads to Project Spy Android and iOS Spyware. Retrieved April 24, 2020. 

  23. B. Leonard, N. Mehta. (2019, November 21). The Secret Life of Sandworms. Retrieved December 31, 2020. 

  24. A. Bauer. (2019, April 8). Lookout discovers phishing sites distributing new iOS and Android surveillanceware. Retrieved September 11, 2020. 

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

  26. Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt. (2016, November 15). Secret Back Door in Some U.S. Phones Sent Data to China, Analysts Say. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 

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

  28. CrowdStrike Global Intelligence Team. (2016). Use of Fancy Bear Android Malware in Tracking of Ukrainian FIeld Artillery Units. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 

  29. Costin Raiu, Denis Maslennikov, Kurt Baumgartner. (2013, March 26). Android Trojan Found in Targeted Attack. Retrieved December 23, 2016. 

  30. Lookout. (2016, May 25). 5 active mobile threats spoofing enterprise apps. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 

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

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

  33. Bauer A., Kumar A., Hebeisen C., et al. (2019, July). Monokle: The Mobile Surveillance Tooling of the Special Technology Center. Retrieved September 4, 2019. 

  34. Shivang Desai. (2017, January 23). SpyNote RAT posing as Netflix app. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 

  35. S. Desai. (2020, September 8). TikTok Spyware. Retrieved January 5, 2021. 

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

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

  38. 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. 

  39. Threat Fabric. (2019, August). Cerberus - A new banking Trojan from the underworld. Retrieved June 26, 2020. 

  40. The BlackBerry Research & Intelligence Team. (2020, October). BAHAMUT: Hack-for-Hire Masters of Phishing, Fake News, and Fake Apps. Retrieved February 8, 2021.