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Re: Phishing Google Wallet and Paypal by abusing WhatsApp
From: Sebastian Rother <srother () mercenary-security com>
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 03:28:05 +0200

On 07/24/2013 04:52 PM, Curesec Research Team wrote:
Hi List,

please find the vulnerability description within this post.

 Curesec Research Team


Phishing Google Wallet and Paypal by abusing WhatsApp


WhatsApp is one of the most common used tools aka ‘Apps’ on
Smarphone-Devices with access to wireless networks or a so called
Data-’Flatrate’. By using the internet link to communicate, people do
not have to pay any extra fees for sending a text-message somewhere,
even if the receiver is in another country.

WhatsApp is available for almost every architecture on the market. The
program exists for Nokia, Blackberry, Android and iOS. It is available
here: https://www.whatsapp.com. This post will focus on the version for

The app is free for one-year in Android devices. After that time the
user has to buy a yearly license. The application provides 3 methods of

    google wallet
    payment link.

They can be selected via Menu->Settings->Account->Payment Info.


Google-wallet and Paypal payments work in the same way. When selecting
it, WhatsApp opens an in-app browser and contacts its main server
www.whatsapp.com with the request:




Responding to this request the browser gets redirected to the proper
checkout service.
The payment link option seems to be currently not working, i.e., nothing


Even tough the communication with the payment systems is HTTPS secured,
the initial contact with the main server www.whatsapp.com is NOT, as we
can see in Wireshark logs:

Host: www.whatsapp.com
Accept-Encoding: gzip
Accept-Language: en-US
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.7)
Cookie: __utmmobile=0xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Accept-Charset: utf-8, iso-8859-1, utf-16, *;q=0.7

After Whatsapp sent this unencrypted request, it will receive the
following answer.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.7
Content-type: text/html
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Date: Mon, 10 May 2013 05:34:36 GMT
Server: lighttpd/1.4.31

<meta name="HandheldFriendly" content="true"/>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>WhatsApp Messenger payment</title>
<body onLoad="document.getElementById('google').submit()">
<p>Please wait...</p>
<form id="google" method="POST" action="https://checkout.google.com
<input type="hidden" name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.item-name"
value="One year of WhatsApp service for phone XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX"/>
<input type="hidden" name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.item-description"
value="WhatsApp Messenger"/>
<input type="hidden" name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.merchant-item-id"
<input type="hidden"
<input type="hidden" name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.unit-price"
<input type="hidden"
name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.unit-price.currency" value="USD"/>
<input type="hidden" name="shopping-cart.items.item-1.quantity" value="1"/>
<input type="hidden"
<input type="hidden"
<input type="hidden"
<input type="hidden" name="_charset_" />

This means an attacker could intercept the first request via a suitable
man-in-the-middle attack and successfully redirect the user to any
Webpage when the user is trying to buy Whatsapp credit. To gain
useraccounts the attacker could setup a fake Google-Wallet or Paypal
Systems page to harvest user accounts. It might even be possible to
gather directly money through this, for instance let the user pay the
0,99 cents via Google Wallet or Paypal to the account of the attacker.

Besides an attacker could forward some other content like a webpage with
a new apk necessary for using google-wallet or paypal, like the
(in)-famous Zitmo Trojan did at visiting a Bankingsite and spending
users some extra “Security”-Features.

-=Practical abuse of the bug=-

As buying the credit only happens one time per year the attack itself is
quite uncommon to be practical for a huge misuse as the attacker needs
to be in control of the wireless or gsm network to intercept and
redirect the traffic.

-=Affected Versions=-

2.9.6447 to 2.10.751 (latest as of 2013 July 2)

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Dear Mr. Lux,

Do I undertsand it correctly, that you are capable of re-directing plain
HTTP traffic?
Congratulations... *applause!!!*

Please forgive me my scepsis but even your last report was not fully
In the commercial sector and in any SANE company WhatsApp is not allowed....

I could tell you like 7 DoS Exploits against an Telecom V921 Router and
write down an AWESOME blog entry...
but in the end it's kind of useless anyway like your news...

Please do us, and I speak partly for the german community as well, a favour.
POST MORE QUALIFIED things.... or get into vacations soon.

Your purely unqualified statements do dishonor our professional work in
germany and disqualify any german
who is a serious penetration tester. And you made it all because to
market your company. Sorry Marco:
NO.... and I aint the only one thinking so.

Kind regards,
Sebastian Rother

Seriously: Was there anybody impressed? It was not even Mr. Lux
himself... but his staff.
That aint a blaming.. just not everything should get made up as "LATEST
I think People like Jericho might angree partly with me, he even
corrected you once, like I did....
Just get into vacanci

Name: Sebastian Rother (CEO)
E-Mail: srother () mercenary-security com

GPG key: 0x7A1C7480
Key fingerprint: FFD0 EF0A 48EB 890A F400  94E5 8D6B B65C 7A1C 7480

Mercenary Security GmbH
Schönhauser Allee 64
10437, Berlin

Handelsregister: Charlottenburg, Berlin
Handelsregisternummer: HRB 143173 B
Geschäftsführer: Sebastian Rother

Phone: +49 030 50914741
Homepage: https://www.mercenary-security.com/

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