Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Mobile Tech
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Google Issues Patch for Android
Google Issues Patch for Android 'Master Key' Exploit

By Barry Levine
July 9, 2013 10:21AM

    Bookmark and Share
Android's besieged position with Master Key and other threats is a result of its success. As the most popular mobile platform -- research firm Canalys estimates it was on nearly 60 percent of all smart mobile devices sold in Q1 -- it has become the target of choice for individual hackers and criminal rings.
 



Google released a fix Tuesday for the "Master Key" vulnerability that could open up 99 percent of all Android applications to the danger of becoming undetected Trojans. The vulnerability, revealed last week by security firm Bluebox Security, could affect almost 900 million devices.

Google said the fix has gone to OEMs for their Android releases. The vulnerability could allow a hack to avoid the unique cryptographic signature of each application, which is supposed to reflect whether an app has been hacked. The Master Key exploit does its infiltration without any impact on the cryptographic signature.

The vulnerability appears to have been around since the release of Android 1.6, which was released about four years ago. Google's Android Communications Manager Gina Scigliano told news media that some of the OEM partners, like Samsung, as "already shipping the fix to the Android devices."

No Evidence Yet

Scigliano added that Google has not seen "any evidence" of the Master Key hack being exploited in Google Play or other app stores, as seen in results of the company's security scanning tools.

Android's besieged position is a result of its success. As the most popular mobile platform -- research firm Canalys estimates it was on nearly 60 percent of all smart mobile devices sold in Q1 -- it has become the target of choice for individual hackers and criminal rings. Juniper Networks, for instance, has reported that, as of March, an astounding 92 percent of all mobile malware threats were directed at Android devices.

Additionally, although it is Google-driven, the OS is open source and device makers or others are free to modify it, which could open up other vulnerabilities and complicate paths for issuing fixes.

Last week, Bluebox Security's research team announced the vulnerability, which they said would be "completely unnoticed" by an app store, the device or the user. In a posting on the Bluebox blog, CTO Jeff Forristal described the implications as being "huge," and said the Trojan could be exploited for anything, including data theft, access into an enterprise network, creation of a mobile botnet or a takeover of any function on a phone or other device.

Learning from Microsoft

We asked Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, if this latest and possibly biggest-yet Android security vulnerability would affect IT departments' assessment of the platform.

She replied that if she were an IT administrator, "of course I'd be concerned," and she compared the situation to Microsoft's decades-long battle with security threats for its big target, Windows. But, DiDio said, the big historical difference is that, at the height of the attacks on Windows, "we weren't as interconnected as we are now."

This interconnectedness tremendously complicates any threat, she said, and Google "should learn from Microsoft's experience" about how to be pro-active, with documentation, fix schedules, tech support and other actions and infrastructure. DiDio said that as a result of Microsoft's efforts, Windows 8 is "one of the most secure environments today."

Bluebox recommends that, in response to this newest vulnerability, device owners employ an additional level of caution about the identity of any publishers whose apps they want to download, and that enterprises with BYOD [bring your own device] policies prompt all users to update their devices with the latest fixes.

Bluebox also urges enterprises to "see this vulnerability as another driver to move beyond just device management to focus on deep device integrity checking and securing corporate data."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Mobile Tech
1.   Apple Smart Watch Patent Surfaces
2.   iPhone 6: Bad for Apple Tablet Sales?
3.   GoTenna: Work-Thru for Dead Zones
4.   Nokia X Phones Had Identity Crisis
5.   Microsoft Axes Android Phones


advertisement
Android SMS Worm on the Loose
Malware lets bad actors cash in.
Average Rating:
Review: Microsoft's Surface Pro 3
Is it a tablet and laptop replacement?
Average Rating:
iPhone 6: Bad for Apple Tablet Sales?
Most likely, it will be a huge hit.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
34 European Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
Criminals have been finding gaping holes in Android-based two-factor authentication systems that banks around the world are using. The result: 34 banks in four European countries have been hit.
 
New Web Tracking Technologies Defeat Privacy Protections
Recently developed Web tracking tools are able to circumvent even the best privacy defenses, according to a new study by researchers at Princeton and the University of Leuven in Belgium.
 
Juniper DDoS Solution Aims at High-IQ Networks
In the face of more complex attacks, Juniper Networks is boosting its DDoS Secure solution to help companies mitigate the threats with more effective security intelligence throughout the network fabric.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 
Another Day, Another Internet of Things Consortium Is Born
In the emerging Internet of Things, zillions of devices will be talking to each other. Samsung, Intel and Dell just formed a consortium to ensure each thing can understand what others are saying.
 

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

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.