Feeds

Israeli Android researchers demo VPN vulnerability

Malicious app can redirect traffic invisibly

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Ben Gurion University security researchers who tangled with Samsung over its KitKat security implementation have posted a follow-up, in which they demonstrate how a malicious app could bypass some VPN protections in Android.

Back in December, the university's Cyber Security Labs stated that Samsung's Knox implementation was insecure, but last week the mobe-maker and Google agreed that the problem lies in Android rather than being specific to one handset vendor.

The researchers now say that in a related vulnerability, they have used a malicious app to redirect a user's VPN connection to a server which is then able to capture user traffic. As the researchers state:

“This vulnerability enables malicious apps to bypass active VPN configuration (no ROOT permissions required) and redirect secure data communications to a different network address. These communications are captured in CLEAR TEXT (no encryption), leaving the information completely exposed. This redirection can take place while leaving the user completely oblivious, believing the data is encrypted and secure.”

The vulnerability is demonstrated in the video below.

Youtube Video

The researchers haven't published the code for their exploit, but say they have notified Google of the vulnerability and will provide more detail once the problem has been patched.

While the vulnerability provides deep access to user communications that are supposed to be protected, it's important to note that it can only be exploited if a user can be tricked into installing a malicious application.

Also, SSL / TLS traffic remains encrypted: it can be captured, but not in plain text.

At this stage, the researchers have only tested their attack on Android 4.3 KitKat. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.