Feeds

Android apps get SSL wrong, expose personal data

Researchers find 1,000 insecure apps, pinch credit card and other data

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More than 1,000 out of a sample of 13,000 Android applications analysed by German researchers contained serious flaws in their SSL implementations.

In this paper (PDF), the researchers from Leibniz University in Hannover and Philipps University of Marburg found that 17 percent of the SSL-using apps in their sample suffered from implementations that potentially made them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle MITM attacks.

They state that they were “able to capture credentials from American Express, Diners Club PayPal, bank accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live ID, Box, WordPress, remote control servers, arbitrary e-mail accounts, and IBM Sametime”.

In addition, since virus software also uses SSL, “We were able to inject virus signatures into an anti-virus app to detect arbitrary apps as a virus or disable virus detection completely.”

The problems arise because of developers misusing the SSL settings the Android API offers. Examples given by the researchers including apps that are instructed to trust all certificates presented to them (21 of 100 apps selected for a MITM test); 20 of the MITM-tested apps were configured to accepts certificates regardless of its associated hostname (for example, an app connecting to PayPal would accept a certificate from another domain). Other issues included SSL stripping and “lazy” SSL implementations.

Furthermore, the researchers note that a number of apps provided insufficient feedback to users – for example, failing to tell the user whether or not it was using SSL to transmit user credentials.

The researchers say the tool they developed for scanning apps’ SSL implementations, MalloDroid, will be available as a Web app and as part of the Androguard security scanner. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.