Threat Research

Android/BondPath: a Mature Spyware

By Axelle Apvrille | August 23, 2018

We have recently stumbled on several active samples of an Android spyware. They belong to a family we have named BondPath (also known as PathCall or Dingwe), which was first reported in May 2016. While our customers have been protected against that malware since 2016, in July 2018 we discovered that some samples are still in the wild and continue to be a threat to unprotected smartphones.

This malware poses as a Google Play Store Services application. The fact that it is signed by the unknown developer hola should be the first clue to raise an alert.

Malicious spyware posing as Google Play Store Services

However, it won't raise an alert if your smartphone is unlocked and a spy installs the malware for you. In that case, the malware is well hidden: the application icon is not displayed (it is removed after the first launch), and there is no particular indication that someone is spying on your device. The list of applications, however, reveals two applications:

  • One is named Google Play service (legitimate)
  • And the other is Google Play Store Services (malware), but this will be difficult to spot. 
A quick glance probably won't spot that there shouldn’t be two Google Play services applications

The list of running process can also show that the malware is active:

u0_a79    3951  73    939736 38424 sys_epoll_ 00000000 S
u0_a79    3977  73    934496 34116 sys_epoll_ 00000000 S

An Extensive Set of Spy Features

The malware implements an extensive set of spy features including,:

  • Audio recording
  • Browser history
  • Calendar
  • Call logs
  • Contacts
  • Device information
  • Emails
  • Files on the phone
  • Installed applications
  • SMS: incoming and outgoing

Collected information is sent to a remote server via HTTP. These packets contain:

  • Type: (e.g reguser, deviceinfo, appconfig)
  • Data: this is the payload of the packet. It is encrypted with AES-ECB using PKCS5 Padding and a hard coded key. It is then encoded with Base64 and then URL-encoded.
  • Hash: an MD5 hash of the payload

These procedures indicate that the malware author(s) have a weak knowledge of cryptography (poor choice of block chaining, padding, no authenticity.) As a malware analyst, however, I am very happy with it as it is easy to decrypt their packets.  :)

Less Frequently Used Features: Battery Status and Social Spying

Less frequently, the malware also reports on the infected smartphone's battery status:

hashtable = h.makeAppConfigHashtable(this.service.getApplicationContext());
hashtable.put("level", String.valueOf(MessageSenderService.getBatteryReceiver(this.service).level));
hashtable.put("temp", String.valueOf(MessageSenderService.getBatteryReceiver(this.service).temperature));
Packet.addPairPost("battreport", hashtable);

Decompiled code of Android/BondPath posting battery status report

The infected smartphone can also be controlled remotely to retrieve even more data. In particular, it will retrieve chats from WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, Facebook, and BBM. To accomplish this, the spy sends the remote command PULLREQUEST_xxxx to the malware. For example, PULLREQUEST_skypelog or PULLREQUEST_fbmessenger etc.

Spying on the Spy: Remote Panel

For each device it spies on, the malware registers a new 'account' on its remote administration panel. The account's username is based on the current timestamp, and the password is randomly generated. Fortunately, by decrypting its communications using our emulators we were able to login to its remote administration panel.

Remote administration panel for the spyware
Fake GPS location served by our Android emulator - viewed from the remote panel
Remote panel showing incoming SMS on our emulator :)

The affected web hosting platform has been notified of this abuse.


This spyware does not exhibit any particular novel technique (no exploit, minimal obfuscation), but it demonstrates a good level of maturity with regards to implementation and features. Ten years ago, malware used to be limited to a few main features like reading incoming/outgoing SMS messages or phone calls (recall Spy/MobileSpy!WinCE or Spy/Spyiolan!SymbOS). This time is well past, and spyware now embeds many feature and is quite reliable – and therefore, a significant threat to end-users.

If your smartphone is not yet protected, think about it twice, because criminals are waiting to take advantage of you.

FortiGuard Protections:

Fortinet customers are protected against this threat with the AV signature Android/BondPath.A!tr.spy





-- the Crypto Girl