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...
Mobile Tech
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Android Master Key Vulnerability Exploited in Two Apps
Android Master Key Vulnerability Exploited in Two Apps

By Seth Fitzgerald
July 24, 2013 10:39AM

    Bookmark and Share
When Symantec first wrote about the Android "master key" flaw, which was identified by startup Bluebox Security, Google automatically released a patch to protect devices. While the patch protects Nexus devices, manufacturers still have to push out updates to non-Nexus phones, which could take months.
 



Symantec researchers say the first known use of the Android "master key" vulnerability has been found in the wild. Two applications distributed on unofficial Android marketplaces in China were found to be using the exploit.

When Symantec's team first discussed the vulnerability earlier this month, which was identified by startup Bluebox Security, they said they expected attackers to exploit it quickly because of its ease-of-use. They appear to have been right on the mark.

The two applications discovered in the marketplace were legitimate apps which are meant to help people find and make doctor appointments, however an attacker seems to have added code to the apps in order to make them exploit the Android master key vulnerability.

The Exploit

Both of the previously legitimate applications have been infected with additional code which allows the hacker to remotely control devices, access data, send premium SMS messages, and disable security features.

By using this vulnerability, the hacker modified the applications by adding a new classes.dex file which contains the code, as well as a new manifest file which specifies permissions.

The attackers ability to send out premium texts is one of the most concerning aspects of the exploit. Each premium text that is sent out because of this code will incur a charge, although all of the fees will be directed to the attacker and not to the carrier.

Difficulty Updating

When Symantec first announced that they had discovered this type of flaw, Google automatically released a patch which would protect devices. Even though the patch prevents Nexus devices against attacks, manufacturers still have to push out updates with the patch to non-Nexus phones.

The process of sending out updates can sometimes take months, no matter how important the update is to a device. Millions of Android devices either never receive updates or they receive very few updates, resulting in continuous vulnerabilities to many different attacks.

This type of delay has been one of the major criticisms of Android especially recently, and has resulted in many people praising Apple because of how fast and easily it is able to push out security updates to all of their devices.

Many users are now demanding that carriers and phone manufacturers find a new way of receiving and pushing out important security-based updates. Although design changes require a lot of custom tailoring to individual phones, security updates should take far less time to distribute.

Protecting Your Device

Since it could take months for a security update to be implement on all Android phones, there are a few ways to protect your device from attacks like this one.

Simply downloading Norton Security antivirus should keep any infected applications from harming your device. Another alternative is the Bluebox Security Scanner, which should also provide the necessary protection.

Users with a Nexus or Samsung device will have already had the patch sent out to their phone, but taking these precautions is important for users with any other type of device.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


 Mobile Tech
1.   Android Gets Chrome Remote Desktop
2.   Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
3.   Zebra Buys Motorola Enterprise Biz
4.   CTIA Caves, Offers Kill Switch Plan
5.   Report: Amazon Phone To Feature 3D


advertisement
BlackBerry Drops T-Mobile After Spat
Moving on to other carriers after snub.
Average Rating:
Zebra Buys Motorola Enterprise Biz
Pays $3.45B in all-cash deal.
Average Rating:
CTIA Caves, Offers Kill Switch Plan
But leaves control up to users.
Average Rating:


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

Network Security Spotlight
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.
 
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 leaked will come at a very hefty price.
 
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
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
Google Releases Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android
You're out on a sales call, and use your Android mobile device to grab a file you have back at the office on your desktop. That's a bit easier now with Google's Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android.
 
Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to launch a smartphone after years of development. Photos of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked by tech pub BGR.
 
Zebra Tech Buys Motorola Enterprise for $3.45B
Weeks after Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility’s assets from Google for $2.91 billion, Zebra Technologies is throwing down $3.45 billion for Motorola’s Enterprise business in an all-cash deal.
 

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.