Feeds

Security boffins brew devilish Android rootkit

Experimental vileware turns your mobe into a TRAITOR

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Computer scientists have identified a weakness in the Android mobile operating system that allows users to be tricked into silently installing hidden malware.

A research team led by Xuxian Jiang at North Carolina State University discovered that they could redirect a fandroid's touchscreen taps - a technique known as clickjacking - to inject a rootkit that can evade detection and maliciously alter the operation of the device.

Xuxian was able to develop a "proof-of-concept prototype rootkit that attacks the Android framework, rather than the underlying operating system kernel". The vulnerability was uncovered during a more general study into the security measures, or lack of, in various smartphone platforms.

The rootkit, which could be bundled with an app and is said to be undetectable by anti-virus packages, would allow an attacker to replace a smartphone's browser with a version that logs key strokes to capture bank card data and uploads them to a hacker-controlled website. The malign technology can hide or replace any or all of the apps on a smartphone, as illustrated in this video:

The clickjacking vulnerability is present in Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and earlier versions of the smartphone OS. The mechanism - described as a "user interface readdresing attack" - means the malware can be installed by a user thinking he or she is agreeing to some other action and without a reboot. No privilege escalation is needed, nor any nobbling of the operating system's core kernel.

"This would be a more sophisticated type of attack than we’ve seen before, specifically tailored to smartphone platforms," Xuxian explained in a NCSU blog post about the work. "The rootkit was not that difficult to develop, and no existing mobile security software is able to detect it."

"Now that we’ve identified the problem, we can begin working on ways to protect against attacks like these," he added. Xuxian is founder of the Android Malware Genome Project, a collaborative research effort into existing Android malware, launched in late May. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.