According to a group of computer scientists at North Carolina State University, a vulnerability exists within many Android devices that would allow hackers (or malicious apps) to bypass the permissions request process and tap into audio and location, wipe apps and data, or send unauthorized SMS messages, all without the user knowing.
This news may sound a bit sensational, but the researchers have created and tested a dummy app which effectively demonstrates the exploit:
Among the eight phones tested with the researchers' diagnostic app (Woodpecker), HTC's Evo 4G seemed to be the most vulnerable, able to "leak" eight different capabilities to their dummy app, which was not explicitly granted appropriate permissions by the user.
At the beginning of the month, we broke the news about a huge security vulnerability in several HTC phones, including the Thunderbolt, EVO 3D, EVO 4G, and possibly more. Not long after word of this issue hit the 'net, HTC issued a response acknowledging it, as well as promising to deliver a patch to correct it. Looks like they are making good on that promise now, as several HTC devices are currently receiving an OTA update to correct this vulnerability.
It's been eleven days since Android Police published this story detailing the discovery by Trevor Eckhart of some serious security issues within HTC's more recent software. Three days after that HTC responded, and now, a further week or so later, we are seeing reports of an "important security update" being pushed to HTC Sensations throughout Europe.
Screencap by FG1234 of Android-Hilfe.de
While HTC does not specify exactly what the ~9 MB update addresses, the timing seems right to relate to the preceding story.
HTC acknowledged the vulnerability in some of its devices that Android Police together with Trevor Eckhart posted Saturday night. The privilege escalation vulnerability currently allows a potentially malicious app that uses only the INTERNET permission to connect to HTC's HtcLoggers service and get access to data far exceeding its access rights. This data includes call history, the list of user accounts, including email addresses, SMS data, system logs, GPS data, and more.
I am quite speechless right now. Justin Case and I have spent all day together with Trevor Eckhart (you may remember him as TrevE of DamageControl and Virus ROMs) looking into Trev's findings deep inside HTC's latest software installed on such phones as EVO 3D, EVO 4G, Thunderbolt, and others.
These results are not pretty. In fact, they expose such ridiculously frivolous doings, which HTC has no one else to blame but itself, that the data-leaking Skype vulnerability Justin found earlier this year pales in comparison.
The Droid 3 is the most powerful Droid to date -- its 1Ghz dual-core OMAP processor and Android 2.3.4 make it a speedy and capable device. As with most devices, D3 owners wanted root access in order to take full advantage of all that it had to offer. That day has finally arrived, as the D3 has been rooted by developer drjbliss from the XDA forums.
The rooting process seems to be rather easy, granted you have ADB set up and know how to use it.
Regardless of where you sit in the tech world, there is one thing that affects us all: security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, our little green robot is no exception this rule, and The Registerrecently dropped a report on a potentially bad exploit.
Apparently, in Android 2.3.3 and below, there is a vulnerability that would allow attackers to collect digital tokens that are stored on the device after users login to Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, and "several other accounts."
Here's how it works: when you login to an account, an authToken is stored locally on your device for 14 days, allowing you to re-access the service without hassle.
Skype released an update to its Android app this morning, remedying the vulnerability which exposed tons of personal info that we revealed last week. Our own Justin Case who originally found the issue has taken a look at the updated version of the app and confirmed that the exploit he developed to demonstrate the vulnerability no longer functions.
Specifically, Skype has changed the permissions of the databases (which contain the personal information) in question.
Update #1: Skype is investigating the issue, we've been told.
Update #2: Skype's official first response can be found here.
The safety of our personal information is often a concern of mine - who has my email address, my phone number, my date of birth? How can I keep my private information safe while still enjoying the internet? These concerns have prompted me to take a deeper look at Android apps more than once, and often this can yield some frightening information.
A new report from eWeek came out today stating that another researcher, Xuxian Jiang, this time from North Carolina State University, stepped forward with a tweak to the very same vulnerability Google reportedly patched.