Feeds

Loophole in Palm security lockout discovered

Backdoor highlighted

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Passwords and data can easily be obtained through a backdoor in Palm OS, even if a Palm device is "locked".

That's the conclusion of researchers at security firm @stake who have discovered that the "system lockout" function in Palm OS security, which means a device will not work until the correct password is entered, can easily be bypassed.

Earlier research by @stake showed that the use of passwords to mark records at "private" could be broken, and the latest findings show that even the lockout mechanism in Palm OS cannot be relied upon for protection.

The reason? Debugging functions in Palm OS, normally use to debug executables or administer on databases on a device, are operational even if Palm's lockout functionality is enabled.

Because of this it's possible for an unauthorised user could retrieve an encoded form of the system password, obtaining all database and record information on the device, and install or delete applications.

Chris Wysopal, @stake's director of research and development, said the issue is important because the system lockout mechanism is currently assumed by most users to protect information on their Palm devices.

"If someone has physical access to a Palm, there's no way to make sure data is secure unless its encrypted," according to Wysopal. Users should consider using third party encryption applications to protect their sensitive data, he recommends.

Better data security protection for Palm devices will come with the release of Palm OS v4.0, which is expected this Spring. However in some cases it will not be possible to upgrade older devices to this operating system even when it does become available. ®

External links:
Security advisory by @stake

Related stories:
Linux to push Palm off PDA pole position - Sharp
New Palm 'imminent' - next week, in fact
PocketPC wins marketshare from Palm
Palm confident of successful 2001

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.