Feeds

Android adware capability a vulnerability, claim boffins

Ad push code can spoof SMSs

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
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
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.