A four year-old vulnerability in an open source component that is a critical part of Google’s Android mobile operating system could leave mobile devices that use it susceptible to attack, according to researchers at the firm Bluebox Security. The vulnerability was disclosed on Tuesday. It affects devices running Android versions 2.1 to 4.4 (“KitKat”), according to a statement released by Bluebox. According to Bluebox, the vulnerability was introduced to Android by way of the open source Apache Harmony module. It affects Android’s verification of digital signatures that are used to vouch for the identity of mobile applications, according to Jeff Forristal, Bluebox’s CTO. He will be presenting details about the FakeID vulnerability at the Black Hat Briefings security conference in Las Vegas next week.
The saga of the application-signing flaw affecting Google’s Android mobile phones took another turn Tuesday when a Silicon Valley startup teamed with graduate students from Northeastern University in Boston to offer their own fix-it tool for hundreds of millions of Android phones that have been left without access to Google’s official patch. Duo Security announced the availability of an Android utility dubbed “ReKey” on Tuesday. The tool allows Droid users to patch the so-called “Master Key” vulnerability on Android devices, even in the absence of a security update from Android handset makers (OEMs) and carriers who distribute the phones, according to a post on the Duo Security blog. The tool can be downloaded from the site rekey.io. “ReKey is the latest of our research projects designed to make the Internet a safer place,” said Collin Mulliner, a postdoctoral researcher at NEU SecLab in a joint press release issued by NEU […]
Android owners who were hoping that Google might be on the cusp of cleaning up its balkanized install base won’t be cheered by the latest word from on high: Android co-founder and Google Ventures Partner Rich Miner thinks it’s no big deal. Speaking on Tuesday at an event in Boston, Miner said that fragmentation of the install base was inevitable, given the number and variety of Android devices that are being adopted, according to a report by Xconomy.com.The statement comes as Google is dealing with the fallout from a newly disclosed vulnerability affecting almost all Android platforms that could allow attackers to fool Android into installing and running compromised applications. Miner was speaking at a Mobile Summit forum hosted by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. He made his statements while being interviewed by renowned technology journalist and columnist Scott Kirsner (@ScottKirsner) of the Boston Globe on the (evergreen) topic “What’s […]
A security researcher has published what he claims is a proof of concept program that exploits a security hole that affects hundreds of millions of Android mobile devices.* Pau Oliva Fora, a security researcher for the firm Via Forensics, published a small, proof of concept module that exploits the flaw in the way Android verifies the authenticity of signed mobile applications. The flaw was first disclosed last week by Jeff Forristal, the Chief Technology Officer at Bluebox Security, ahead of a presentation at the Black Hat Briefings in August. Oliva Fora posted his “quick and dirty” proof of concept on GitHub, a code sharing website, on Monday. The simple program leverages APKTool, a common, open source tool for reverse engineering Android applications – decompiling and then recompiling their contents. APKTool is widely used for analyzing and making modifications to closed binaries. His script allows a user to select an Android […]
A security researcher claims to have uncovered a flaw in the Android security model that leaves almost all devices running the mobile operating system vulnerable to attacks and malicious software. Jeff Forristal, the Chief Technology Officer at Bluebox Security posted a description of the flaw on Wednesday. It affects Android devices running any version of the OS released in the past four years, starting with Version 1.6 (codename: “Donut” ) – a population of nearly 900 million devices. Discrepancies in how Android applications are cryptographically signed and then verified by Android allow a malicious attacker to modify the application package file (or APK) code without breaking the cryptographic signature. The implications of the flaw are huge. A malicious application installed on a vulnerable Android device could access any data stored on the device. For applications, such as mobile virtual private network (VPN), an attacker who could alter the application’s code or […]