Feeds

Thought your Android phone was locked? THINK AGAIN

Another day, another vulnerability

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.