Researcher Releases Android Exploit In Webkit Browser Engine


And Android security hits the news once again, it’s not a vulnerability in the OS per-say but rather in the browser based on the Webkit engine. It does highlight the inherent fragmentation problems with the Android platform and the security concerns that come with running old OS and software versions.

It’s a problem that is plaguing Android right now with different phones running different core OS versions (from 1.5 to 2.2) – on top of that 3rd party skins for the OS from Samsung, Motorola and more. This makes updating the OS slow and many users are stuck with old versions and no news regarding updates.

A security researcher has released proof-of-concept code that exploits a vulnerability in most versions of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones.

M.J. Keith of Alert Logic said he released the attack code to expose what he characterized as inadequate patching practices for the open-source mobile platform. Rather than find the underlying bug himself, he searched through a list of documented security flaws for Apple’s Safari, which relies on the same Webkit browser engine used in Android. In short order, he had an attack that exploits about two-thirds of the handsets that rely on the OS.

“They need a better patching system,” Keith told The Register. “They do a good job of repairing future releases, but I think a better patching system needs to be set up for Android.”

The bug Keith’s code exploits was fixed in Android 2.2, but according to figures supplied by Google, only 36 percent of users have the most recent version. That means the remainder are susceptible to the attack.

Google has claimed that they are changing the architecture with the upcoming release of Gingerbread, many of the system apps will be pushed to the Marketplace – meaning they can push out updates much faster and easier than if everything is integrated in the OS image.

Of course core problems with the kernel or underlying OS will still have to be addressed via firmware updates, but still like this – which effects the browser – could be negated if a new browser version could be pushed out from the Android Marketplace.

The same goes for the recent Critical Zero Day Abobe Flash Flaw Which Put Android Phones At Risk.


What’s more, Keith said he had no trouble finding other documented Webkit vulnerabilities that have yet to be fixed in version 2.2.

“I found about four or five and I wasn’t trying to [do] an exhaustive search,” he said.

A Google spokesman declined to comment for this post. To be fair, Android’s design does a good job of segregating the functions of one application from those of another. That would make it hard for someone exploiting the bug Keith demonstrated to gain root privileges or access to many of the targeted handset’s resources. But it still would allow an attacker to access anything the browser can read, including a phone’s Secure Digital memory card.

The bigger point, Keith said, is that most users have no idea their devices are vulnerable to bugs that were patched long ago on other platforms.

“I wanted to demonstrate that nobody’s being notified that their Android phone is vulnerable to this stuff,” he explained. Google “wants to pretend it’s not there.”

It is a serious problem that Android is facing right now and I hope Google do more to address this and work alongside with the handset vendors so OS updates can be pushed out in a more efficient and timely manner.

The exploit code can be found here:

Android 2.0-2.1 Reverse Shell Exploit

Source: The Register

Posted in: Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Hardware Hacking

, , , ,


Latest Posts:


Sooty - SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool Sooty – SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool
Sooty is a tool developed with the task of aiding a SOC analyst to automate parts of their workflow and speed up their process.
UBoat - Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project UBoat – Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project
UBoat is a PoC HTTP Botnet designed to replicate a full weaponised commercial botnet like the famous large scale infectors Festi, Grum, Zeus and SpyEye.
LambdaGuard - AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner LambdaGuard – AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner
LambdaGuard is a tool which allows you to visualise and audit the security of your serverless assets, an open-source AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner.
exe2powershell - Convert EXE to BAT Files exe2powershell – Convert EXE to BAT Files
exe2powershell is used to convert EXE to BAT files, the previously well known tool for this was exe2bat, this is a version for modern Windows.
HiddenWall - Create Hidden Kernel Modules HiddenWall – Create Hidden Kernel Modules
HiddenWall is a Linux kernel module generator used to create hidden kernel modules to protect your server from attackers.
Anteater - CI/CD Security Gate Check Framework Anteater – CI/CD Security Gate Check Framework
Anteater is a CI/CD Security Gate Check Framework to prevent the unwanted merging of filenames, binaries, deprecated functions, staging variables and more.


Comments are closed.