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HTC to plug private data backdoor leak slurp vuln

Fix on the way for promiscuous Droid system app

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HTC has admitted some of its Android handsets have a flaw which could allow malicious apps to read customer locations and account details, but a fix is on the way.

The flaw was spotted last week and HTC were alerted to the flaw; now the mobe maker has admitted the problem exists and is working towards developing a fix that will be pushed out to handsets as soon as it's properly tested.

The vulnerability stems from HTC's decision to log user activity using an application which was, itself, unsecured. Applications that successfully asked for internet privileges could access the logging application and slurp details of user accounts and locations as well as various bits of system information.

The flaw was spotted by one Trevor Eckhart, who dropped HTC a line and gave the company five days to respond before taking the matter public, on the grounds of responsible disclosure, with a detailed breakdown of the vulnerability and some demonstration code.

HTC is keen to point out that they've no evidence of anyone exploiting the vulnerability, at least not yet, and that it is "working very diligently to quickly release a security update that will resolve the issue on affected devices". That patch will be sent out over the air once its been given the green light by testers, so HTC users should expect to see it soon.

Until then they might like to hold off installing applications which ask for internet privileges, though that is most of them these days. HTC reckons customers should avoid "installing and updating applications from untrusted sources", but given the security of Google's Marketplace relies entirely on peer reporting it might be better to hold off installing any unknown brands until the fix is in. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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