Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Please click for more information, or scroll down to pass the ad, or Close Ad.
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Neustar, Inc.
Protect your website & network
using real-time information & analysis

www.neustar.biz
World Wide Web
Real-time info services with Neustar
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Android Security Flaw Allows Malicious Code To Go Unseen
Android Security Flaw Allows Malicious Code To Go Unseen

By Jennifer LeClaire
July 5, 2013 10:32AM

    Bookmark and Share
"All Android applications contain cryptographic signatures, which Android uses to determine if the app is legitimate and to verify that the app hasn't been tampered with or modified," said Bluebox Security CTO Jeff Forristal. "This vulnerability makes it possible to change an application's code without affecting the cryptographic signature."
 



Talk about the Android operating system being less secure than other mobile platforms is nothing new. Neither are studies that set out to prove the point.

But a report from start-up Bluebox Security's research team, Bluebox Labs, is highlighting a recently discovered vulnerability in Android's security model that allows a hacker to modify APK code without breaking an application's cryptographic signature. The result: the bug can turn any legitimate application into a malicious Trojan without an app store, the phone or the end user ever discovering it.

"The implications are huge!" said Jeff Forristal, Bluebox chief technology officer, writing in a blog post. "This vulnerability, around at least since the release of Android 1.6 (codename: "Donut"), could affect any Android phone released in the last 4 years -- or nearly 900 million devices -- and depending on the type of application, a hacker can exploit the vulnerability for anything from data theft to creation of a mobile botnet."

A Slick Move

According to Forristal, here's how it works: The vulnerability involves discrepancies in how Android applications are cryptographically verified and installed, allowing for APK code modification without breaking the cryptographic signature.

"All Android applications contain cryptographic signatures, which Android uses to determine if the app is legitimate and to verify that the app hasn't been tampered with or modified," he explained. "This vulnerability makes it possible to change an application's code without affecting the cryptographic signature of the application -- essentially allowing a malicious author to trick Android into believing the app is unchanged even if it has been."

Forristal noted that details of Android security bug 8219321 were responsibly disclosed through Bluebox Security's close relationship with Google in February 2013. It's up to device manufacturers to produce and release firmware updates for mobile devices -- and for users to install these updates.

Risk Overblown?

As Forristal sees it, the risk is great for both the individual and the enterprise because a malicious app can access individual data, or gain entry into a corporation. He said the Trojan could give bad actors access to the Android system and all apps, data, e-mail, text messages and documents, as well as retrieve all stored account and service passwords.

What's more, he said it can "essentially take over the normal functioning of the phone and control any function," including making arbitrary phone calls, send arbitrary SMS messages, turning on the camera, and recording calls. Hackers could even turn the phone into a zombie to create a botnet.

Should Android users be scared? Roger Entner, a wireless industry analyst at Recon Analytics, doesn't think so. He told us vulnerabilities in Android do exist, but many times security vendors are offering solutions for problems that don't exist on a wide scale.

"Some security companies publish case studies on what could happen and say you need their antivirus solution even though the virus has never been seen in the wild," Entner said. "They are offering a vaccine to a virus that they are making themselves and saying 'this could be out there.' We haven't seen viruses or malware even in an insignificant fashion in the wild."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Thomas Swift:

Posted: 2013-07-08 @ 2:05am PT
"It's up to device Relevant Products/Services manufacturers to produce and release firmware updates for mobile devices -- and for users to install these updates." what percent of Android phones from Pay-as-you-go vendors relieve updates and patches? How many actually use anti-virus?

Jon Anderson:

Posted: 2013-07-05 @ 11:14am PT
Roger Entner, sir, you are possibly years behind in security news. Here's a nicely compiled list of in the wild android malware:

http://forensics.spreitzenbarth.de/android-malware/

"We haven't seen viruses or malware even in an insignificant fashion in the wild."

Guess we know which company to avoid!



Your Next Generation Data Center Is Here! Vblock™ Systems: the world's most advanced converged infrastructure are built on the Cisco Unified Computing System with Intel® Xeon® processors. Vblock™ Systems deliver extraordinary time to market, ROI and TCO, and flexibility to meet your continually changing demands with 5X faster deployment, 96% less downtime, and 1/2 the cost. Click here to learn more.


 World Wide Web
1.   Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
2.   'Like' Cheerios, Give Up Right To Sue
3.   Google Earnings, Sales Disappoint
4.   Tech Giant Alibaba Plans U.S. IPO
5.   Google Street View Unravels CAPTCHAs


advertisement
Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
But it could have been prevented.
Average Rating:
Don't Reset Passwords for Heartbleed?
Added caution needed to ensure security.
Average Rating:
Internet Devices Lure Hackers
Mundane devices end up in online crime.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions, Could Have Been Prevented
Early estimates of Heartbleed’s cost to enterprises are running in the millions. The reason: revoking all the SSL certificates the bug exposed will come at a very hefty price. Some say it all could have been avoided.
 
Michaels Says Nearly 3M Credit, Debit Cards Breached
Arts and crafts retail giant Michaels Stores has confirmed that a data breach at its POS terminals from May 2013 to Jan. 2014 may have exposed nearly 3 million customer credit and debit cards.
 
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
The innovative headpiece may find its niche in markets where hands-free access to data can be a big advantage. Glass experiments for doctors are already under way, with some promising results.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Review: Siri-Like Cortana Fills Windows Phone Gap
With the new Cortana virtual assistant, Windows catches up with Apple's iOS and Google's Android in a major way, taking some of the best parts of Apple's and Google's virtual assistants, with new tools too.
 
With Galaxy S5, Samsung Proves Less Can Be More
Samsung has produced the most formidable rival yet to the iPhone 5s: the Galaxy S5. The device is the fifth edition of the company's successful line of Galaxy S smartphones, and shows less can be more.
 
Facebook Rolls Out Potentially Intrusive Location-Sharing
Looking for friends? Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby, using a smartphone's GPS. Could be a cool feature in some cases, or way too much information.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.