Feeds

Android adware capability a vulnerability, claim boffins

Ad push code can spoof SMSs

Website security in corporate America

North Carolina State University researchers have revealed a vulnerability in Android that allows SMS messages to be sent from one app to another without going over the air, something they say could be used for SMS phishing attacks.

The Xuxian Jiang-led team is the same group that gave the world the Android click-jacking rootkit, a phone-call bugging vulnerability, and identified a dozen malicious apps on Google Play in 2011.

The team's latest announcement is characterised as a “WRITE_SMS capability leak”, because it can be exploited without an attacker having to request any permissions. The vulnerability is demonstrated in the video below.

“This vulnerability allows a running app on an Android phone to fake arbitrary SMS text messages, which will then be received by phone users. We believe such a vulnerability can be readily exploited to launch various phishing attacks,” the group writes.

Symantec points out that the ability to use an app to generate what looks like an SMS has been known since 2010, but hadn’t been considered a vulnerability. It seems to be a classic case of “this is a feature, not a bug”: the vast majority of apps using the code, the A-V company says, “use the code to deliver advertisements”.

Symantec says there are currently 200 apps on Google Play, recording millions of combined downloads, that send ads to users as spoofed SMSs. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.