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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 of the smartphones or tablet.
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.
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