Android apps with millions of downloads are vulnerable to serious attacks

Android apps with a whole bunch of tens of millions of downloads are susceptible to assaults that enable malicious apps to steal contacts, login credentials, non-public messages, and different delicate data. Safety agency Verify Level stated that the Edge Browser, the XRecorder video and display screen recorder, and the PowerDirector video editor are amongst these affected.

The vulnerability truly resides within the Google Play Core Library, which is a set of code made by Google. The library permits apps to streamline the replace course of by, as an illustration, receiving new variations throughout runtime and tailoring updates to a person app’s particular configuration or a particular cellphone mannequin the app is operating on.

A core vulnerability

In August, safety agency Oversecured disclosed a security bug within the Google Play Core Library that allowed one put in app to execute code within the context of every other app that relied on the susceptible library model.

The vulnerability stemmed from a directory traversal flaw that allowed untrusted sources to repeat information to a folder that was speculated to be reserved just for trusted code obtained from Google Play. The vulnerability undermined a core safety constructed into the Android working system that stops one app from accessing information or code belonging to every other app.

This is a picture that illustrates how an assault would possibly work:

Verify Level

Google patched the library bug in April, however for susceptible apps to be mounted, builders should first obtain the up to date library after which incorporate it into their app code. Based on research findings from Check Point, a nontrivial variety of builders continued to make use of the susceptible library model.

Verify Level researchers Aviran Hazum and Jonathan Shimonovich wrote:

Once we mix fashionable purposes that make the most of the Google Play Core library, and the Native-Code-Execution vulnerability, we will clearly see the dangers. If a malicious utility exploits this vulnerability, it will possibly acquire code execution inside fashionable purposes and have the identical entry because the susceptible utility.

The probabilities are restricted solely by our creativity. Listed below are only a few examples:

  • Inject code into banking purposes to seize credentials, and on the similar time have SMS permissions to steal the Two-Issue Authentication (2FA) codes.
  • Inject code into Enterprise purposes to achieve entry to company assets.
  • Inject code into social media purposes to spy on the sufferer, and use location entry to trace the machine.
  • Inject code into IM apps to seize all messages, and probably ship messages on the sufferer’s behalf.

Seeing is believing

To reveal an exploit, Verify Level used a proof-of-concept malicious app to steal an authentication cookie from an outdated model of Chrome. With possession of the cookie, the attacker is then in a position to acquire unauthorized entry to a sufferer’s Dropbox account.

Account Takeover exploiting vulnerability in Android’s Play Core Library Code – Demo.

Verify Level recognized 14 apps with mixed downloads of virtually 850 million that remained susceptible. Inside just a few hours of publishing a report, the safety agency stated that builders of a few of the named apps had launched updates that mounted the vulnerability.

Apps recognized by Verify Level included Edge, XRecorder, and the PowerDirector, which have mixed installations of 160 million. Verify Level offered no indication that any of those apps had been mounted. Ars requested builders of all three apps to touch upon the report. This submit might be up to date in the event that they reply.

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