Feeds

Android apps get SSL wrong, expose personal data

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

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
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
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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.