Feeds

Thought your Android phone was locked? THINK AGAIN

Another day, another vulnerability

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Android has taken another step to cement its place behind Java in the world of repeatedly-vulnerable software, with German group Curesec discovering that an attacker can get past users' PINs to unlock the phone.

In fact, the Curesec post states, the bug – present in Android 4.0 to 4.3 but not 4.4 – exposes any locking technique: PINs, passwords, gestures or facial recognition.

“The bug exists on the 'com.android.settings. ChooseLockGeneric class'. This class is used to allow the user to modify the type of lock mechanism the device should have,” Curesec writes.

A user changing the type of lock they're using should have to enter their previous lock – so if you swap from PIN to gesture, you would have to provide your PIN before Android allows the change.

The problem is that the program flow in the ChooseLockGeneric class lets an attacker bypass the confirmation:

“We can control the flow to reach the updatePreferencesOrFinish() method and see that IF we provide a Password Type the flow continues to updateUnlockMethodAndFinish(),” the post states. “Above we can see that IF the password is of type PASSWORD_QUALITY_UNSPECIFIED the code that gets executed and effectively unblocks the device.

“As a result, any rogue app can at any time remove all existing locks.”

Curesec has proof-of-concept code in its post. The bug has been designated CVE-2013-6271, and Curesec says it decided to go public after the Android Security Team stopped responding to its e-mails about the issue. ®

High performance access to file storage

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
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.