Feeds

Samsung mobes pwned by ANY APP, thanks to chip code hole

Cluster of Exynos-powered Galaxies and other gear at risk

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A member of an XDA developers forum who calls him-or-herself Alephzain claims to have found a flaw in several Samsung handsets and tablets that could allow attackers to enjoy full access to their RAM.

Alephzain posted news of the embarrassing bug here, stating: “The security hole is in [the] kernel, exactly with the device /dev/exynos-mem.”

Thanks to exynos-mem's wide-open file system permissions, it can be read from and written to by any software running on the handheld, acting as a portal to the device's physical memory and allowing malicious code to do pretty much anything it wants.

Exynos refers to the Samsung ARM-powered processor found in a great many of its Linux-powered Android devices, which can be compromised by the kernel flaw.

Alephzain's asessment of the bug follows:

The good news is we can easily obtain root on these devices and the bad is there is no control over it.

Ram dump, kernel code injection and others could be possible via app installation from Play Store. It certainly exists many ways to do that but Samsung give an easy way to exploit. This security hole is dangerous and expose phone to malicious apps.

Exploitation with native C and JNI could be easily feasible.

The flaw has attracted attention from others in the same forums, one of which – Chainfire - has thoughtfully provided an exploit for the flaw and warned “any app can use it to gain root without asking and without any permissions on a vulnerable device”, adding “let's hope for some fixes ASAP".

Devices in trouble are said to include the Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy 10.1 tablets.

Members of the XDA developers community are evidently quite keen on the flaw, as it will allow them to do some low level hacking on their preferred Samsung devices. Community members say they've told Samsung about the problem, which should allow the rest of us to Keep Calm and Not Download Apps until a fix is issued. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.