Feeds

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

Cluster of Exynos-powered Galaxies and other gear at risk

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.