Trend Micro discovers vulnerability in Android debugger "Debuggerd"

Trend Micro has found a new vulnerability that exists in phones running Android IceCream Sandwich to Lollipop.

The vulnerability in the debugging program of Android, Debuggered, allows a hacker to view the device's memory and the data stored on it.

You can create a special ELF (Executable and Linkable Format) file to crash the debugger and then you can view the dumps and log files of content stored on the memory.

The glitch in itself is not a big threat but the type of data it can give a hacker access to can lead to a difficult situation.

Google is said to be working on a fix in the next version of Android for this.

Vulnerability found in Apple devices that puts your password at risk

A group of security researchers have come forward with startling news that passwords and other data on your Apple devices might not be safe. The group has published their findings in a paper where they explain how Apple's devices could be hacked.

The paper explains that the way Apple writes its code to communicate between devices, they were able to hack in to the system by uploading an app with malware onto the Apple Store.

The app in turn downloaded secure data, that should not be accessible to anyone, to the hacker. The confidential data that the app was able to steal included passwords of bank accounts, emails and iCloud.

The team's lead researcher said that his team was able to gain unauthorized access to other applications on a Apple device.

The devices affected by this problem are the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Researcher discloses a flaw in Samsung Keyboard leaves 600m Android devices vulnerable to hacking attack

A flaw has been disclosed by a security researcher in Samsung's Android, including the recently released Galaxy S6, keyboard installed on over 600 million Samsung mobile device users that could allow hackers to take full control over the smartphones or tablet.

Ryan Welton, a mobile security researcher at NowSecure, who discovered the vulnerability, wrote in the blog, “A remote attacker capable of controlling a user’s network traffic can manipulate the keyboard update mechanism on Samsung phones and execute code as a privileged (system) user on the target’s phone. The Swift keyboard comes pre-installed on Samsung devices and cannot be disabled or uninstalled. Even when it is not used as the default keyboard, it can still be exploited.”

Researcher said that the vulnerability was discovered last year. Samsung was notified in December 2014. However, Samsung asked NowSecure not to disclose the flaw until it could fix the problem.

NowSecure also notified CERT who assigned CVE-2015-2865, and also informed the Google Android security team.

 The researcher pointed out the flaw could attacker to do:

-         - Access sensors and resources like GPS, camera and microphone.
-         -  Secretly install malicious app(s) without the user knowing.
-          - Tamper with how other apps work or how the phone works.
-          - Eavesdrop on incoming/outgoing messages or voice calls.
-          - Attempt to access sensitive personal data like pictures and text messages.

According to the researcher, the defected keyboard application can’t be uninstalled. Similarly, it is not easy for the Samsung mobile device user to tell if the carrier has patched the problem with a software update.

“However, in order to reduce the risk, avoid insecure Wi-Fi networks, use a different mobile device and contact your carrier for patch information and timing,” the researcher added.

Zomato fixed a Security bug that allowed hackers to access Personal data of 62 Million users

Zomato, an online restaurant search and discovery service providing information on home delivery, dining-out, cafés and nightlife to various cities across India and 21 other countries, has fixed a bug which could allow an attacker to gain access to personal information of million users.

Anand Prakash, discovered Insecure Direct Object Reference(IDOR) vulnerability in the Zomato website.

IDOR occurs when an application provides direct access to objects based on user-supplied input. The vulnerability allows the attackers to bypass authorization and access resources in the system directly by modifying the value of a parameter used to directly point to an object, for example database records or files.

One of the API calls used for retrieving the users information is insecurely coded.  It gets the information only based on the "browser_id" parameter passed in a HTTP GET request and fails to verify the user is authorized to access the requested data.

By sequentially changing the 'browser_id' value, an attacker is able to access the users' personal information, such as Names, Email addresses, phone numbers, Date of birth.

"The data leaked also had Instagram access token which could be used to see private photos on Instagram of respective Zomato users,” Prakash wrote in his blog.

Prakash reported the vulnerability to Deepinder Goyal, CEO of Zomato, On June 1. And the next day (June 2), the flaw was fixed by Gunjan Patidar along with his engineering team.

You can also check the Proof of concept Video:

Privacy bug found in allows hackers to access your details

A Privacy bug was found in the largest Indian online music streaming service Gaana website, which allowed access to private details of users including the date of birth.

A Security researcher Avinash, found an Insecure direct object reference vulnerability, and reported it to the fixed the bugs after three weeks.

Avinash said a bug in an Internal API gave him access to 11 Million records.  A simple HTTP Get request with the corresponding User ID is enough to get their details.

The researcher said he was able to access full name, profile picture, email address, date of birth and last song they listened on Gaana. 

In his blog post, he wrote “ On 12th of May I had discovered a vulnerability on I contacted their team and it was fixed recently.”

When EHN contacted the author about why the original article has been removed from the blog by the author. He replied that "he removed it after getting a request from"

You can find the cached version of the Blog post in Google Cache

Emerson fixes SQL injection bug in AMS Device Manager

Emerson Process Management has released a patch for SQL Injection vulnerability in its AMS Device Manager application.

Emerson AMS Device Manager is a software used worldwide primarily in the oil and gas and chemical industries.

The Advisory (ICSA-15-111-01) released on the ICS-CERT website quoted that the vulnerability is not exploitable remotely and cannot be exploited without user interaction. It also stated that an attacker’s access to the vulnerability is of medium difficulty level.

"Successful attack results in administrative access to the application and its data files but not to the underlying computer system." The advisory reads.

The vulnerability affects AMS Device Manager, V12.5 and earlier.

Emerson advises the users of this application to take some steps to avoid exploitation to this vulnerability.

For AMS Device Manager application v12.5; it suggests the users to apply a patch, upgrade to v13, or apply the workaround below. For the earlier versions, the software can be configured by adding another user with full administrative privileges and making the default administrative user have read-only privileges.

ICS-CERT also recommends the users to limit user privileges on ICS running software machines, reduce network exposure for all control system device, locate control system networks and remote devices behind firewalls, and isolate them from the business network.

Security and Privacy flaw in UC Browser leaks personally identifiable information

A visual summary of privacy and security issues presented by UC Browser. PC: Citizen Lab
A report has shown that a security and privacy flaw in a popular mobile web browser in India and China - Transmits users' personal and other information without encryption.

The report titled “A Chatty Squirrel: An Analysis of Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser” has revealed that Chinese and English-language versions of UC Browser for Android, a mobile web browser which is owned by a China-based company, allows any network operator or in-path actor on the network to get the user’s personally identifiable information like location, search details and mobile subscriber and device ids.

The application is using symmetric AES/CBC encryption for sending device IDs,location data, Wi-Fi Mac Address, SSID and other information rather than encryption. The key 'autonavi_amaploc' used for the encryption is Hard-coded in the application.

"The use of symmetric encryption with a hard-coded key means that anyone who knows the key can decrypt UC Browser (Chinese) traffic in transit. Moreover, key holders can also retroactively decrypt any historical data that they have collected or obtained." The report reads.

Personal identifiers like IMEI, IMSI, android id, build serial number is being transferred to Umeng (a mobile analytics service) in an unecrypted form.

The transmission of unencrypted search engine queries enables third parties to monitor searches. Sensitive personal information can be inferred from search results including health conditions like pregnancy, disease, mental and psychological conditions, marital relations, and medical information. Third parties can use it to develop, use, and sell user profiles and by corporate or government agents to modify or prevent access to certain search results.

“We informed our findings to Alibab on April 15, 2015 and we would publish this report on or after April 29, 2015. The company responded on April 19, 2015, indicating that Alibaba security engineers were investigating the issue. We followed up on April 23, 2015 to reiterate our intention to publish this report on or after April 29, 2015,” the report said.

The report added that on May 19, 2015 they tested version 10.4.1-576 of the Chinese language version of UC Browser, which was downloaded from the website. However, the version does not appear to send location data insecurely to AMAP.

Security Explorations reveals several vulnerabilities in Google App Engine

Security Explorations, a Poland-based security firm, on May 15 disclosed technical details and Proof of Concept (PoC) codes for unconfirmed and unpatched vulnerabilities presence in Google App Engine for Java.

In October 2012, the company started its research on Google App Engine for Java however it could not continue it. Then, in October 2014, it resumed the project.

The company confirmed more than 30 vulnerabilities in December.

According to a report published on SecurityWeek, it had identified and reported a total of 41 issues to the authority concerned, but the Google said it internally fixed those flaws.

“That does not speak well about Google GAE engineers and their Java security skills in particular,” Adam Gowdiak, founder and CEO of Security Explorations, told SecurityWeek.

Till the date, Google has confirmed a total of 36 vulnerabilities. However, the Security Explorations confirmed that a few of them were still left unpatched.

Although, in Mid-March Security Exploration revealed 31 flaws which were later fixed by Google, Gowdiak, wrote in a mail that there are seven different vulnerabilities still exist in the Google service which he briefly discussed in his mail.

He said that the flaws have been reported to Google three weeks ago. However, he has not received confirmation from the Google officials. Nor, the authority concerned has not fixed any of them.

"It has been three weeks and we haven't heard any official confirmation or denial from Google with respect to Issues 37-41," Gowdiak wrote. "It should not take more than 1-2 business days for a major software vendor to run the received POC, read our report and / or consult the source code.”

He added that it is easy to exploit the flaws by attackers. They could use the freely available cloud platform to run a malicious Java application. The app would then break out of the first sandboxing layer and execute code in the highly restricted native environment.

The hackers could use the restricted environment to attack lower-level assets and to retrieve sensitive information from Google servers.

Google had decided to award Security Explorations with $70,000 for disclosing the vulnerabilities. The total amount of $50,000 was already paid to the company on March 20.

Gowdiak said that now, Google might not give them remaining $20,000 as they have disclosed the unpatched and unconfirmed vulnerabilities. However, the company believes that rewards cannot influence the way a vulnerability handling/disclosure of a security research is made.

“We need to treat all vendors equal. In the past, unconfirmed, denied or silently fixed issues were the subject to an immediate release by us,” he said.

Venom Vulnerability allows hackers to escape from VM and hack Host Machine

CrowdStrike’s senior security researcher Jason Geffner disclosed the vulnerability in the virtual Floppy Drive Code used by many computer virtualization platforms.

Vulnerability VENOM, CVE-2015-3456, attacker can easily escape from the confines of virtual machine guest and exploit the code-execution access to the host. This may result in  elevated access to the host’s local network and adjacent systems.

By exploiting  the VENOM vulnerability one can get access to corporate intellectual property (IP), sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII), which will potentially affect thousands of organizations and millions of end user’s connectivity, storage, security, and privacy.

According to the researcher, the bug is in QEMU’s virtual Floppy Disk Controller (FDC), notably used in  Xen, KVM, and the native QEMU client. Whereas VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Bochs hypervisors are not impacted by this vulnerability.

“The VENOM vulnerability has existed since 2004, when the virtual Floppy Disk Controller was first added to the QEMU codebase“ wrote Jason Geffner in his blog post.

Cisco releases software updates to address serious flaws in TelePresence products

Cisco has released software updates to address several vulnerabilities that have been identified in its TelePresence products, which can be exploited by hackers to compromise a vulnerable system.

It has also urged its customers to update their TelePresence software. Similarly, they are advised to consult their maintenance providers or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues that are specific to their environments.

Cisco said in an advisory published on May 13 that the workarounds that mitigate the vulnerabilities, which have been identified by during its internal tests and product security reviews, are not available.

“The vulnerability in the web framework of multiple Cisco TelePresence products could allow an authenticated or remote attacker to inject arbitrary commands that are executed with the privileges of the root user,” Cisco said in its advisory.

“The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by authenticating to the device and submitting crafted input to the affected parameter in a web page."

"Administrative privileges are required in order to access the affected parameter. A successful exploit could allow an attacker to execute system commands with the privileges of the root user,” the advisory added.

Cisco said that although, this is a serious vulnerability with a CVSS score of 9.0, it hasn’t found evidence that shows flaw has been leveraged for malicious purposes.

PHP Object Injection Vulnerability in Bomgar Remote Support Portal

A security vulnerability has been found in the Bomgar Remote Support Portal version 14.3.1 and earlier versions, which is the part of Bomgar's appliance-based remote support software,  deserialize untrusted data without verifying the validity of the resulting data.

The data can be exploited by both authenticated as well as unauthenticated attackers.

An unauthenticated attacker can inject arbitrary input at one point in vulnerable PHP file, while authenticated attacker can inject at multiple points.

To exploit this vulnerability, the attacker has to find the appropriate classes with beneficial  effects,  if there is no classes with beneficial effects, it is not exploitable.

"One way to exploit this vulnerability is by utilizing the Tracer class. It is used to write stack trace information to a log using a Logger instance, which wraps an instance of PEAR's Log class. By using a Log_file instance as an instance of Log, it is possible to write the arbitrary data to the arbitrary file." The researcher wrote in his blog post.

Update your Wordpress, Prevent Your website from Being Hacked

WordPress has come up with its 4.2.2 version in order to increase its users security. It has also urged people to update their sites immediately.

Samuel Sidler, researcher at, wrote that the new version is aimed to address two security issues.

The first one is the Genericons icon font package, used in themes and plugins, which contained an HTML file vulnerable to a cross-site scripting attack. 

On May 7 all affected themes and plugins including twenty fifteen default theme have been updated by the WordPress security team after a DOM-based Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered.

Security researchers from Sucuri warned that the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild days before disclosure.

Robert Abela of Netsparker reported that in a bid to protect other Genericons usage, WordPress 4.2.2 scans the wp-content directory for this HTML file and removes it.

Secondly, WordPress versions 4.2 and previous versions are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site. So, WordPress 4.2.2 includes a comprehensive fix for this issue according to a separate report by Rice Adu and Tong Shi.

WordPress 4.2.2 also contains fixes for 13 bugs from 4.2.

People just have to download WordPress 4.2.2 or venture over to Dashboard. Then click “Update Now” button. 

Sites that support automatic background updates have begun to update to WordPress 4.2.2.

Major vulnerability in medical equipment poses security risk

The Internet enabled PCA3 drug infusion pump manufactured by Hospira suffers from authorization vulnerabilities that can allow unauthenticated users to remotely access and modify pump configurations, drug libraries and software updates.

The Hospira Life care infusion pump, version 5.0 and prior runs "SW ver 412". It does not require authentication for Telnet sessions, which allows remote attackers to gain root privileges via TCP port 23. By attaching any device to the pump via Ethernet, one can easily extract the wireless encryption keys stored in plain text on the device and thus gain access to the keys Life critical network.

The attacker can then impact the pump configurations or medical libraries by conducting firmware updates, command execution, and drug library updates.  However, Hospira maintained that the Operation of the Life Care PCA Infusion pump required the physical presence of a clinician to manually program the dosage into the pump for administration.

Even if credentials are implemented on the Telnet port there are still web services which allow a remote attacker to carry out the remote modifications. Even if that was made secure there are additional services like FTP that are open with hard coded accounts. 

Billy Rios, the independent researcher who discovered these vulnerabilities has been co-ordinating with Hospira since May 2014. A new version has been developed by Hospira which mitigates these vulnerabilities and is under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review.

In defense, ICS-CERT  has advised organizations to ensure closure of unused ports, use of VPN, detaching of the pump from insecure networks and use of good design practices with network segmentation.

Impact of the vulnerability varies depending on each organization, so individual organizations need to evaluate and secure themselves based on their operational environment.

Multiple vulnerabilities in TheCartPress WordPress plugin

Multiple vulnerabilities has been discovered in TheCartPress WordPress plugin by the High-Tech Bridge Security Research Lab.

The vulnerabilities can be exploited to execute arbitrary PHP code, disclose sensitive data, improper access control, and to perform Cross-Site Scripting attacks against users.

To exploit the local PHP File Inclusion vulnerability, an attacker needs to have administrator privileges on WordPress installation. PHP does not properly verify the URL before being used in  ‘include()’ function , and can be abused to include arbitrary local files via directory traversal sequences.

HTTP POST parameters are supplied by many users during the checkout process. These parameters are not being sanitized before being stored in the local database.  Which can be easily exploited by a non-authenticated attacker, they  may inject malicious HTML and JS code that will be stored in the application database, and made available to any non-authenticated user on the following URL:
http://wordpress/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?order_id=[order_id]&action=tcp_print_or der

Due to broken authentication mechanism any non-authenticated user may browse orders of other users. They easily predict the order ID, enables them to steal all currently-existing orders.

The vulnerability can be reproduced by opening the  following URL:

And full details of the orders can be viewed by opening the following URL
http://wordpress/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?order_id=[order_id]&action=tcp_print_or der

Inputs  can be passed via the "search_by", "address_id", "address_name", "firstname", "lastname", "street", "city", "postcode", "email", "post_id" and "rel_type", and "post_type"  GET parameter. These are not properly verified before being returned to the user. An attacker can logged-in as  administrator to open a link, and execute arbitrary HTML and script code in browser in context of the vulnerable website.

Vulnerability in Realtek SDK leaves D-Link and TRENDnet routers vulnerable to Hackers

D-Link and TRENDnet's routers are vulnerable to remote code execution attacks due to a flaw in a component of the Realtek, Software Development Kit (SDK).

A content developer at HP Enterprise Security discovered the flaw.

Ricky Lawshae first informed about the flaw to HP’s Zero-Day Initiative (ZDI) in August 2014. Then in October, he reported for the last time about his findings to them.

However, the Realtek did not come up with a plan to solve the problem. As a result, the routers flaw has been disclosed.

The vulnerability (CVE-2014-8361) allows a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on affected systems with root privileges. ZDI has assigned the vulnerability a CVSS score of 10.

The security hole affects the Realtek SDK used for RTL81xx chipsets.

Although, the flaw on D-Link and TRENDnet routers has been discovered, it is not clear that how many small office and home (SOHO) routers are affected.

The researcher however said that those devices using the minigd binary from the Realtek SDK are likely to be vulnerable.

“Given the stated purpose of Realtek SDK, and the nature of the vulnerability, the only salient mitigation strategy is to restrict interaction with the service to trusted machines,” ZDI officials wrote in an advisory published on Friday.

“Only the clients and servers that have a legitimate procedural relationship with products using Realtek SDK service should be permitted to communicate with it.”

Realtek still has not commented on the findings.

D-Link has released firmware updates that addresses the security vulnerabilities in affected D-Link devices.

It is said that the flaw, which was found on those wireless routers, are not unique or rare.

Earlier, researchers reported about the several vulnerabilities related to the ncc/ncc2 service used by devices from the vendors. Both D-Link and Trendnet released firmware updates to address the issues.

Last month, a researcher complained that D-Link had failed to properly patch those vulnerabilities related to the Home Network Administration Protocol (HNAP).

WordPress patches Stored XSS bug, Many versions affected

(PC- google images)
WordPress has issued a critical security update - WordPress Security Release 4.2.1, announced in an advisory by consultant Gary Pendergast, after millions of websites were at risk of a bug that allows attackers to take control of a system.

Pendergast read, “A few hours ago, the WordPress team was made aware of a cross-site scripting vulnerability which could enable commenter to compromise a site”. He added, "This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. [It] has begun to roll out as an automatic background update, for sites that support those."

Discovered by Jouko Pynnönen of Finnish security company Klikki ; the critical, unpatched zero-day vulnerability, affecting WordPress’ comment mechanisms, is a stored cross-scripting (XSS) bug that allows a hacker to take over an entire website running the WordPress platform.

In a blog post, Klikki explained that if triggered by a logged-in administrator, under default settings, the attacker can leverage the vulnerability to execute arbitrary code on the server via the plug-in and theme editors. Alternately the attacker could change the administrator’s password, create new administrator accounts, or do whatever else the currently logged-in administrator can do on the target system.

The vulnerability is exploited by injecting JavaScript in the WordPress comment section, and then adding 64Kb of the text.

"If the comment text is long enough, it will be truncated when inserted in the database. The MySQL TEXT type size limit is 64kilobytes, so the comment has to be long”, Pynnönen said.

 "The truncation results in malformed HTML generated on the page.The attacker can supply any attributes in the allowed HTML tags, in the same way as with the two recently published stored XSS vulnerabilities affecting the WordPress core”, added he. 

WordPress versions 3.9.3, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, and the latest version 4.2 are affected.

Similar to the one reported by Cedric Van Bockhaven in 2014, the only difference in this version is the use of excessively long comment for the same effect.  In both the cases, the injected JavaScript can’t be triggered in the administrative Dashboard so these exploits require getting around comment moderation e.g. by posting one harmless comment first.

Vulnerability in Wi-fi authentication component

A vulnerability in wpa_supplicant, used to authenticate clients on Wi-fi networks, could expose Android, BSD, Linux, and possibly Windows and Mac OS X system to attack.

The  vulnerability uses Service Set Identifier’s information to create or update P2P peer  entries. The valid length range of SSID is 0-32 octets, but on one of the code paths wpa_supplicant was not sufficiently verifying the payload length. This resulted in copying of  arbitrary data from an attacker to a fixed length buffer of 32 bytes.

The device  results in corrupted state in heap, unexpected program behavior due to corrupted P2P peer device information, denial of service due to wpa_supplicant process crash, exposure of memory contents during GO Negotiation, and potentially arbitrary code execution.

According to Jouni Malinen, maintainer of wpa_supplicant, “The vulnerability is easiest to exploit while the device has started an active P2P operation (e.g., has ongoing P2P_FIND or P2P_LISTEN control interface command in progress). However, it may be possible, though significantly more difficult, to trigger this even without any active P2P operation in progress.”

This issue was reported by the Google security team and hardware research group of Alibaba security team.

The users could merge the following commits to wpa_supplicant and rebuild it,  validate SSID element length before copying it (CVE-2015-1863) from  Update to  wpa_supplicant v2.5 or newer versions, once  they are available.

"No iOS Zone" - DoS vulnerability in iOS Devices

Skycure, a mobile threat defense solutions, witnessed  sudden crash of an iOS app while setting the router in a specific configuration and connecting the devices to it.

Elisha and Roy members of research team started to analyze the crashes further, and identified the source of the problem.  They found that by generating a specially crafted SSL certificate, attackers can regenerate a bug and cause apps that perform SSL communication to crash at will. Then they created a script that exploits the bug over a network interface.

Parsing SSL certificate vulnerability affects the underlying iOS operating system, and with heavy use of devices exposed to the vulnerability, the operating system crashes. Under certain conditions, the  devices can be put  into a repeatable reboot cycle, rendering them useless.

For most of the people iOS app crash is simply a quality issue. They just install a different firmware and move on.

 But the victim’s device in an unusable state for as long as the attack impacts a device. Even if victims understand that the attack comes from a Wi-Fi network, they can’t disable the Wi-Fi interface in the repeated restart state as shown in the video.

The issues have been reported  to the Apple. To avoid this vulnerability exploit the users may take following steps.

1)Users should disconnect from the bad Wi-Fi network or change their location in case they experience continuous crashing or rebooting.
2)The latest iOS 8.3 update might have fixed a few of the mentioned threats–users are highly advised to upgrade to the latest version.
3)In general, users should avoid connecting to any suspicious “FREE” Wi-Fi network.

WordPress 4.1.2 version released, fixes critical security bugs

Wordpress 4.1.2 is the latest version of WordPress to be released to the public. A critical security release for all previous versions, WordPress 4.1.2 fixes as much as four other security issues.
The earlier versions of WordPress including version 4.1.1 were affected by a serious critical cross-scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site. This was reported by Cedric Van Bockhaven and fixed by Gary Pendergast, Mike Adams and Andrew Nacin of the WordPress security team.

Discovered by Michael Kapfer and Sebastian Kraemer of HSASec, files with invalid or unsafe names could be uploaded in version 4.1 and higher.

In WordPress 3.9 and higher, a very limited cross-site scripting vulnerability could be used as a part of a social engineering attack. It was discovered by Jakub Zoczek.  

Some plugins were vulnerable to an SQL injection vulnerability. Four hardening changes, including better validation of post titles within the Dashboard were discovered by J.D.Grimes, Divyesh Prajapati, Allan Collins, Marc-Alexandre Montpas and Jeff Bowen.

To download WordPress 4.1.2, the update can be updated automatically from the Dashboard and simply click “Update Now”. Sites that support automatic background updates are already updating to WordPress 4.1.2.

Researchers discover fingerprint flaw on Samsung Galaxy S5

Photo Courtesy: Mobilesyrup website
Despite the various efforts made to secure biometric information on Samsung Galaxy S5 by the Android phone makers, hackers can still take copies of fingerprint which is used to unlock the phone set, said researchers.

Tao Wei and Yulong Zhang, researchers at FireEye, a security firm, said that even though there is a separate secure enclave for the information on the phone, it is possible to grab the biometric data before it reaches that safe area which allows hackers to copy people’s fingerprints for further attacks.

Wei and Zhang, who conducted research on Galaxy S5 including other unnamed Android devices, will be presenting their findings at the RSA conference on April 24.

The researchers said that in order to clone the fingerprints, the hackers don’t have to break the protected zone where the data is stored. They just have to collect data from the device’s fingerprint sensor.

According to them, any hacker can easily clone fingerprints from the phone sets. They have to get user-level access and run a program as root. They wouldn’t need to go deeper on Samsung Galaxy S5 because the malware needs only system-level access.

And once the hackers break the operating system of the phone, they can easily read the fingerprint sensor. Then, the hackers get the data from which they can generate an image of fingerprint. After that, those hackers can do whatever they want.

After finding the flaw on the phone, the researchers had contacted Samsung. However, they did not get any updates or measures to fix the vulnerability from the company.

They said that it is better to update Android version in order to get protected from this vulnerability because it is not resident on Android 5.0 or later versions.

"Samsung takes consumer privacy and data security very seriously. We are currently investigating FireEye’s claims,” said a spokesperson for Samsung via email to Forbes.

Although, there are various security concerns about biometric, it is going to be the primary form of authentication on mobile phones.

It is said that Microsoft is testing out a range of biometric options for its upcoming Windows 10 operating system. 

However, Wei and Zhang said they only tested Android devices as of now.

They said that not all of the Android phones below 5.0 with fingerprint authentication were affected but this vulnerability is likely to spread among other phone companies as well.  Like HTC One Max, Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge, Galaxy S6, and Huawei Ascend Mate 7.

“We only tested a limited number of devices. While we expect the issue is more widespread, we are not sure,” the FireEye spokesperson said in an email to Forbes