It seems every month of Q4 last year smartphone users had to dodge the minefield that was malware attacks and exploits. We had StageFright, Ghost Push Trojan, XcodeGhost and indeed, another massive Android vulnerability has been spotted by researchers at Perception Point.
The team’s analysis claims that for the most part of three years, devices and servers have had an unattended backdoor that would allow hackers an open playground to play with – majorly concerning root access.
There’s no proper name for this flaw yet but it’s been labelled “CVE-2016-0728” for now and it’s gonna be a big problem. We’re referring to the white elephant in the room – waiting for updates that’ll patch up this problem. This is the issue with OEM skins and the open-source like play-box that is the Android platform.
A few manufacturers have tried to uphold their monthly security updates including Google, HTC and Samsung but when dealing with a gaping hole that has been there since 2013, we hope they do something soon.
The issue now lies in the OS keyring that allows apps to store sensitive data in the form that is encrypted so it can’t be accessed. To exemplify the dangers of this bug, the team at Perception Point replicated the exploit that replaces the keyring code stored in the memory kernel.
Particularly on Android smartphones for those on KitKat and later, the exploit will allow malicious apps to break out of the sandbox to gain control of the OS’ root functions. A more thorough explanation of the Android coding environment, you can check out our post here.
Fortunately, the team hasn’t noticed anyone abusing this vulnerability in the open. Let’s all pray it stays that way.