“ShareIt” Android app with over a billion downloads is a security nightmare

Enlarge / You possibly can’t argue with that inexperienced “secure” protect.

Development Micro says it has discovered “several” security flaws within the common Android app ShareIt. ShareIt has been downloaded over a billion instances from the Play Retailer, and, in keeping with App Annie, was one of many 10 most globally downloaded apps in 2019. The app was initially developed by Lenovo (it has since spun off into its personal firm) and for a time was pre-installed on Lenovo telephones.

The report says ShareIt’s vulnerabilities can “be abused to leak a person’s delicate information and execute arbitrary code with ShareIt permissions.” ShareIt’s permissions, as an area file-sharing app, are fairly intensive. In response to the Play Retailer permissions readout, ShareIt requests entry to your entire person storage and all media, the digicam and microphone, and site. It may delete apps, run at startup, create accounts and set passwords, and do a complete lot extra. It additionally has full community entry. Development Micro says compromising the app can result in distant code execution. The safety agency says it shared these vulnerabilities with ShareIt three months in the past, however the firm has but to problem patches.

ShareIt’s unbelievable success of a billion Android downloads and 1.8 billion customers worldwide (there are additionally iOS, Home windows, and Mac apps) has led to what seems to be like an unbelievable quantity of app bloat. The app was thought of probably the greatest for native file sharing, however right now the Play Retailer itemizing reveals an app that gives “Infinite On-line Movies,” “Tens of hundreds of thousands of high-quality songs,” “GIFs, Wallpapers & Stickers,” a “common” media part that appears like a social community, a sport retailer, a retail film obtain part, COVID-19 check-in exercise and case statistics, and what seems to be like its personal type of forex. ShareIt’s website (which, identical to the app, doesn’t default to HTTPS) says the service is “now a number one content material platform” and common in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Center East, Africa, and Russia.

When personal storage isn’t personal

Development Micro’s report particulars a laundry record of unhealthy selections made whereas designing ShareIt that might make it extra inclined to malicious code. One drawback is a common Android app vulnerability that arises when builders arrange a content provider incorrectly. Android prides itself on intra-app communication, partly as a result of any app can create a content material supplier and supply its content material and providers to different apps. If Gmail needs to connect a file to an e-mail, it may well do this by exhibiting an inventory of accessible file-content suppliers put in in your telephone (it is mainly an “open with” dialog field), and the person can decide their favourite file supervisor, navigate by their storage, and move the file they wish to Gmail. It is as much as builders to sanitize these cross-app capabilities and solely expose the required file supervisor capabilities to Gmail and different apps.

ShareIt would not appear to have given a lot thought to the necessity to sanitize its content-provider capabilities. The report says: “The developer behind this disabled the exported attribute by way of android:exported=”false”, however enabled the android:grantUriPermissions=”true” attribute. This means that any third-party entity can nonetheless achieve momentary learn/write entry to the content material supplier’s information.” Passing alongside some permissions is regular, however Development Micro discovered that ShareIt would not attempt to scope down its permissions in any respect and can fortunately serve up its information to any app that asks. A malicious developer must solely name on the ShareIt’s file-content supplier and move it a file path for the developer to get again any of the information in ShareIt’s “personal” listing.

The file paths ShareIt will supply up are restricted to its personal information information, however meaning apps can edit the information ShareIt makes use of to run, together with the app cache that will get generated throughout set up and runtime. The report says that “an attacker might craft a faux [app cache] file, then substitute these information by way of the aforementioned vulnerability to carry out code execution.” Usually these information stay in personal storage, however ShareIt’s personal storage is open to the world.

ShareIt additionally comes with its personal Android app installer. With its personal storage not being “personal,” it repeats the identical errors we noticed in Epic’s Fornite installer. It downloads app set up information to world-readable storage, the place they’re weak to a “Man-in-the-disk” assault. App set up information must be protected in personal storage earlier than they’re put in, however in public storage, the set up package deal may very well be swapped out as quickly as it’s downloaded however earlier than set up time. Then the person thinks they’re putting in the nice app they only downloaded, but it surely’s really an imposter malicious app.

“The attacker can steal delicate information”

A complete additional drawback is that ShareIt’s sport retailer can apparently obtain app information over unsecured HTTP, the place it may be topic to a man-in-the-middle assault. ShareIt registers itself because the handler for any hyperlink that ends its domains, like “wshareit.com” or “gshare.cdn.shareitgames.com,” and it’ll mechanically pop up when customers click on on a obtain hyperlink. Most apps pressure all site visitors to HTTPS, however ShareIt doesn’t. Chrome will shut down HTTP obtain site visitors, so this must be finished by a Net interface aside from the principle browser.

Development Micro ends by saying, “We reported these vulnerabilities to the seller, who has not responded but. We determined to reveal our analysis three months after reporting this since many customers could be affected by this assault, as a result of the attacker can steal delicate information and do something with the apps’ permission.” Customers ought to most likely uninstall the app ASAP. In case you’re in search of a safer file-sharing various, Google’s file manager can do native sharing over Wi-Fi now and needs to be written with higher safety practices.

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