HTC to plug private data backdoor leak slurp vuln

Fix on the way for promiscuous Droid system app


HTC has admitted some of its Android handsets have a flaw which could allow malicious apps to read customer locations and account details, but a fix is on the way.

The flaw was spotted last week and HTC were alerted to the flaw; now the mobe maker has admitted the problem exists and is working towards developing a fix that will be pushed out to handsets as soon as it's properly tested.

The vulnerability stems from HTC's decision to log user activity using an application which was, itself, unsecured. Applications that successfully asked for internet privileges could access the logging application and slurp details of user accounts and locations as well as various bits of system information.

The flaw was spotted by one Trevor Eckhart, who dropped HTC a line and gave the company five days to respond before taking the matter public, on the grounds of responsible disclosure, with a detailed breakdown of the vulnerability and some demonstration code.

HTC is keen to point out that they've no evidence of anyone exploiting the vulnerability, at least not yet, and that it is "working very diligently to quickly release a security update that will resolve the issue on affected devices". That patch will be sent out over the air once its been given the green light by testers, so HTC users should expect to see it soon.

Until then they might like to hold off installing applications which ask for internet privileges, though that is most of them these days. HTC reckons customers should avoid "installing and updating applications from untrusted sources", but given the security of Google's Marketplace relies entirely on peer reporting it might be better to hold off installing any unknown brands until the fix is in. ®


Other stories you might like

  • 1Password's Insights tool to help admins monitor users' security practices
    Find the clown who chose 'password' as a password and make things right

    1Password, the Toronto-based maker of the identically named password manager, is adding a security analysis and advice tool called Insights from 1Password to its business-oriented product.

    Available to 1Password Business customers, Insights takes the form of a menu addition to the right-hand column of the application window. Clicking on the "Insights" option presents a dashboard for checking on data breaches, password health, and team usage of 1Password throughout an organization.

    "We designed Insights from 1Password to give IT and security admins broader visibility into potential security risks so businesses improve their understanding of the threats posed by employee behavior, and have clear steps to mitigate those issues," said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password, in a statement.

    Continue reading
  • CISA and friends raise alarm on critical flaws in industrial equipment, infrastructure
    Nearly 60 holes found affecting 'more than 30,000' machines worldwide

    Updated Fifty-six vulnerabilities – some deemed critical – have been found in industrial operational technology (OT) systems from ten global manufacturers including Honeywell, Ericsson, Motorola, and Siemens, putting more than 30,000 devices worldwide at risk, according to private security researchers. 

    Some of these vulnerabilities received CVSS severity scores as high as 9.8 out of 10. That is particularly bad, considering these devices are used in critical infrastructure across the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, water treatment and distribution, mining and building and automation industries. 

    The most serious security flaws include remote code execution (RCE) and firmware vulnerabilities. If exploited, these holes could potentially allow miscreants to shut down electrical and water systems, disrupt the food supply, change the ratio of ingredients to result in toxic mixtures, and … OK, you get the idea.

    Continue reading
  • Inside the RSAC expo: Buzzword bingo and the bear in the room
    We mingle with the vendors so you don't have to

    RSA Conference Your humble vulture never liked conference expos – even before finding myself on the show floor during a global pandemic. Expo halls are a necessary evil that are predominatly visited to find gifts to bring home to the kids. 

    Do organizations really choose security vendors based on a booth? The whole expo hall idea seems like an outdated business model – for the vendors, anyway. Although the same argument could be made for conferences in general.

    For the most part, all of the executives and security researchers set up shop offsite – either in swanky hotels and shared office space (for the big-wigs) or at charming outdoor chess tables in Yerba Buena Gardens. Many of them said they avoided the expo altogether.

    Continue reading
  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

    Continue reading
  • Info on 1.5m people stolen from US bank in cyberattack
    Time to rethink that cybersecurity strategy?

    A US bank has said at least the names and social security numbers of more than 1.5 million of its customers were stolen from its computers in December.

    In a statement to the office of Maine's Attorney General this month, Flagstar Bank said it was compromised between December and April 2021. The organization's sysadmins, however, said they hadn't fully figured out whose data had been stolen, and what had been taken, until now. On June 2, they concluded criminals "accessed and/or acquired" files containing personal information on 1,547,169 people.

    "Flagstar experienced a cyber incident that involved unauthorized access to our network," the bank said in a statement emailed to The Register.

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft Defender goes cross-platform for the masses
    Redmond's security brand extended to multiple devices without stomping on other solutions

    Microsoft is extending the Defender brand with a version aimed at families and individuals.

    "Defender" has been the company's name of choice for its anti-malware platform for years. Microsoft Defender for individuals, available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, is a cross-platform application, encompassing macOS, iOS, and Android devices and extending "the protection already built into Windows Security beyond your PC."

    The system comprises a dashboard showing the status of linked devices as well as alerts and suggestions.

    Continue reading
  • To cut off all nearby phones with these Chinese chips, this is the bug to exploit
    Android patches incoming for NAS-ty memory overwrite flaw

    A critical flaw in the LTE firmware of the fourth-largest smartphone chip biz in the world could be exploited over the air to block people's communications and deny services.

    The vulnerability in the baseband – or radio modem – of UNISOC's chipset was found by folks at Check Point Research who were looking for ways the silicon could be used to remotely attack devices. It turns out the flaw doesn't just apply to lower-end smartphones but some smart TVs, too.

    Check Point found attackers could transmit a specially designed radio packet to a nearby device to crash the firmware, ending that equipment's cellular connectivity, at least, presumably until it's rebooted. This would be achieved by broadcasting non-access stratum (NAS) messages over the air that when picked up and processed by UNISOC's firmware would end in a heap memory overwrite.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022