Access Stored Application Data

Adversaries may access and collect application data resident on the device. Adversaries often target popular applications such as Facebook, WeChat, and Gmail.[1]

This technique requires either escalated privileges or for the targeted app to have stored the data in an insecure manner (e.g., with insecure file permissions or in an insecure location such as an external storage directory).

ID: T1409
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Platforms: Android, iOS
Version: 2.0
Created: 25 October 2017
Last Modified: 10 October 2019
Provided by LAYER 8

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0655 BusyGasper

BusyGasper can collect data from messaging applications, including WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook.[2]

S0529 CarbonSteal

CarbonSteal can collect notes and data from the MiCode app.[3]

S0505 Desert Scorpion

Desert Scorpion can collect account information stored on the device.[4]

S0550 DoubleAgent

DoubleAgent has accessed browser history, as well as the files for 15 other apps.[3]

S0405 Exodus

Exodus Two extracts information from Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, IMO, Skype, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, and WeChat.[1]

S0509 FakeSpy

FakeSpy can collect account information stored on the device, as well as data in external storage.[5]

S0408 FlexiSpy

FlexiSpy uses a FileObserver object to monitor the Skype and WeChat database file and shared preferences to retrieve chat messages, account information, and profile pictures of the account owner and chat participants. FlexiSpy can also spy on popular applications, including Facebook, Hangouts, Hike, Instagram, Kik, Line, QQ, Snapchat, Telegram, Tinder, Viber, and WhatsApp.[6]

S0577 FrozenCell

FrozenCell has retrieved account information for other applications.[7]

S0551 GoldenEagle

GoldenEagle has extracted messages from chat programs, such as WeChat.[3]

S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can collect all accounts stored on the device.[8]

S0399 Pallas

Pallas retrieves messages and decryption keys for popular messaging applications and other accounts stored on the device.[9]

S0316 Pegasus for Android

Pegasus for Android accesses sensitive data in files, such as messages stored by the WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter applications. It also has the ability to access arbitrary filenames and retrieve directory listings.[10]

S0289 Pegasus for iOS

Pegasus for iOS accesses sensitive data in files, such as saving Skype calls by reading them out of the Skype database files.[11]

S0295 RCSAndroid

RCSAndroid can collect contacts and messages from popular applications, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Line, WeChat, Hangouts, Telegram, and BlackBerry Messenger.[12]

S0327 Skygofree

Skygofree has a capability to obtain files from other installed applications.[13]

S0324 SpyDealer

SpyDealer exfiltrates data from over 40 apps such as WeChat, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and others.[14]

S0329 Tangelo

Tangelo accesses databases from WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Line.[15]


ID Mitigation Description
M1005 Application Vetting

Ensure applications do not store data in an insecure fashion, such as in unprotected external storage, without acknowledging the risk that the data can potentially be accessed or modified by other applications.

M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Most new versions of mobile operating systems include patches to newly discovered privilege escalation exploits used to root or jailbreak devices. Further, applications that target Android API level 28 or higher on Android 9.0 and above devices have a policy applied that prevents other applications from reading or writing data in their internal storage directories, regardless of file permissions.[16]


Accessing stored application data can be difficult to detect, and therefore enterprises may be better served focusing on detection at other stages of adversarial behavior.