Arid Viper is a threat actor involved in cyber espionage activities. It has been attributed to various names like APT-C-23, Desert Falcon, or TAG-63. Arid Viper is known for a recent Android spyware campaign targeting Arabic-speaking users with a counterfeit dating app.
Furthermore, this spyware is designed to secretly collect sensitive information from victims’ devices and execute additional malicious code, as reported by Cisco Talos. There is no direct evidence linking Arid Viper to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
The spyware deployed by Arid Viper shares source code similarities with a legitimate dating application called Skipped, suggesting a potential link to the developer of the non-malicious app or an attempt to mimic its features for deceptive purposes.
Arid Viper has previously used “honey trap” tactics, using seemingly benign chat applications to deliver malware and trick potential targets, such as through fake profiles on social media platforms.
Additionally, Cisco Talos has identified a network of companies creating dating-themed applications similar to or identical to Skipped. These apps can be downloaded from official app stores for Android and iOS. This raises the concern that Arid Viper may utilize these additional applications in future malicious campaigns.
The spyware, once installed, employs tactics to hide itself on victim devices and gain intrusive permissions, enabling it to record audio and video, access contacts, and intercept SMS messages. It can also retrieve system information and download additional malware disguised as legitimate apps like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Furthermore, Recorded Future has revealed possible connections between Arid Viper and Hamas through infrastructure overlaps related to an Android application named Al Qassam, which has been distributed in a Telegram Channel claiming affiliation with the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. This suggests shared infrastructure resources between the groups, although the exact nature of this connection is not conclusively determined.