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...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Mobile Tech
Fiercely productive scanners
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:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Mobile Tech
1.   Report: Amazon Phone To Feature 3D
2.   Review: Galaxy S5 Features Useful
3.   Galaxy S5 Won't Sway iPhone Lovers
4.   Charge a Phone in 30 Seconds? Done
5.   Samsung Adding Anti-Theft Solutions


advertisement
BlackBerry Drops T-Mobile After Spat
Moving on to other carriers after snub.
Average Rating:
Android Wear on Tap for Wearables
OK Google, what's really new here?
Average Rating:
Will Nadella Launch an Office for iPad?
New Microsoft CEO may act this month.
Average Rating:


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

Network Security Spotlight
Tips To Defeat the Heartbleed Bug
Heartbleed headlines continue as IT admins scramble for answers no one has. Early reports of stolen personal data, including 900 social insurance numbers in Canada, are starting to trickle in.
 
NSC Backs Disclosing Software Vulnerabilities
Disclosing vulnerabilities in commercial and open source software is in the national interest and shouldn't be withheld unless there is a clear need, says the National Security Council.
 
Heartbleed Flaw Affects Hardware, Too
It appears the Heartbleed security bug affects not just Web sites, but also the networking equipment that connects businesses and homes to the Net, including Cisco and Juniper's equipment.
 

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
Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals in which hands-free access to data is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those, as seen in a number of Glass experiments under way.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Is Amazon Launching a 3D Smartphone?
Once known for selling books on an e-commerce platform, Amazon is now a bona fide hardware maker -- and it's reportedly rolling out an innovative smartphone with a 3D screen.
 
Review: S5 Features Useful, Less About Gimmicks
There's a lot to like about Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone -- among them, its relative lack of features. Samsung chose to focus on features people might actually want, not gimmicks.
 
Analyst: Samsung Galaxy S5 Won't Sway iPhone Lovers
The Samsung Galaxy S5 hits store shelves on Friday and the reviews are starting to pour in. The question is: Can the latest in the Galaxy line grab more market share from Appleā€™s iPhone?
 

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.