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Google Responds to Detection of Session Token Malware Capable of Hijacking Accounts: Report

The zero-day exploit allows malicious users to regenerate an authentication cookie to log in to a user's account, even after a password change.

Google Responds to Detection of Session Token Malware Capable of Hijacking Accounts: Report

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ @firmbee

Users can enable Enhanced Safe Browsing on Chrome to avoid malware downloads

  • Hackers can use stolen session tokens to gain access to a user's account
  • The exploit allows hackers to gain long-term access to Google accounts
  • Users can revoke the sessions by logging out of the affected browser

Malware designed to steal information from users and hijack their Google accounts is being exploited by multiple malicious groups — even after a password has been reset — according to security researchers. The exploit is reportedly aimed at Windows computers. Once the device is infected, it uses a technique used by "info stealers" to exfiltrate the login session token — assigned to a user's computer when they log in to their account — and upload it to the cybercriminal's server.

According to a report published by researchers at CloudSEK, the malware was first launched by threat group PRISMA in October 2023, and uses the search giant's OAuth endpoint called MultiLogin that is used by Google to allow users to switch between user profiles on the same browser or use multiple login sessions simultaneously. The malware uses auth-login tokens from a user's Google accounts that are logged in on the computer. The necessary details are decrypted with the help of a key that is stolen from the UserData folder in Windows, as per the report.

Using the stolen login session tokens, malicious users can even regenerate an authentication cookie to log in to a user's account after it has expired — it can even be reset once, when a user changes their password. As a result, the malware operators can retain access to a user's account. Threat intelligence group Hudson Rock has provided a demonstration of the flaw being exploited.


Meanwhile, BleepingComputer points out that various malware creators have already started to use the exploit to gain access to user data — on November 14, the Lumma stealer was updated to take advantage of the flaw, followed by Rhadamanthys (November 17), Stealc (December 1), Medusa (December 11), RisePro (December 12), and Whitesnake (December 26).

In a statement to 9to5Google, the search giant said that it routinely upgraded its defences against the techniques used by malware, and that compromised accounts detected by the company have been secured.

Google also points out that users can revoke or invalidate the stolen session tokens by either logging out of the browser on a device that has been infected with the malware, or by accessing their devices page in their account settings and remotely sign out of those sessions. Users can also scan their computers for malware and enable the Enhanced Safe Browsing setting in Google Chrome to avoid downloading malware to their computers, according to the company.

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Further reading: Google, Malware, PRISMA, Google account
David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at DavidD@ndtv.com, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at mstdn.social/@delima. More
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