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Billions of Android devices are at risk of 'dirty stream' attacks

Billions of Android devices are at risk of 'dirty stream' attacks


Microsoft researchers recently found that many Android applications, including at least four that have each been installed more than 500 million times, are vulnerable to remote code execution attacks, token theft, and other issues due to common security vulnerabilities. discovered that it is vulnerable.

Microsoft notified Google's Android Security Research team of the issue, and Google has published new guidance for Android app developers on how to recognize and fix the issue.

Billions of installations at risk of compromise

Microsoft also shared its findings with affected Android app vendors on Google's Play Store. These include Xiaomi Inc.'s file manager products, which have been installed more than 1 billion times, and WPS Office, which has been downloaded about 500 million times.

Microsoft says the vendors of both products have already resolved this issue. However, the company believes there are other apps that could be exploited or compromised due to similar security weaknesses. “We anticipate this vulnerability pattern may be found in other applications as well,” Microsoft's threat intelligence team said in a blog post this week. “We are sharing our findings to help developers and publishers check their apps for similar issues, fix them if necessary, and ensure that new apps and releases do not introduce such vulnerabilities. can be prevented.”

The issue discovered by Microsoft affects Android applications that share files with other applications. According to Microsoft, to facilitate sharing in a secure manner, Android has implemented a so-called “content provider” feature, which essentially manages app data and provides it to other applications installed on the device. It is said that it will function as an interface for publishing. Apps that need to share files, or Android file providers, declare specific paths that other apps can use to access the data. The file provider also includes an identifier that other apps can use as an address to find files on your system.

Blind trust and lack of content verification

“This content provider-based model provides a well-defined file sharing mechanism that allows serving applications to share files with other applications in a secure manner with fine-grained control,” Microsoft said. Ta. However, when an Android app receives a file from another app, its contents are often not validated. “The primary concern is using the file name provided by the serving application to cache the received file within the consuming application's internal data directory.”

Microsoft says this provides an opportunity for attackers to create malicious apps that can send files with malicious filenames directly to receiving apps or file sharing targets without the user's knowledge or approval. Masu. Common file sharing targets include email clients, messaging apps, networking apps, browsers, and file editors. Microsoft says that when a shared target receives a malicious filename, it initializes the file using that filename and triggers a process that can compromise and terminate the app.

The potential impact depends on the implementation details of your Android application. In some cases, an attacker could use a malicious app to override the receiving app's settings, forcing it to communicate with an attacker-controlled server or share a user's authentication token or other data. there is. In other situations, a malicious application could overwrite a receiving application's native libraries with malicious code, allowing it to execute arbitrary code. “Since rogue apps control not only the content of files but also their names, blindly trusting this input could cause the shared target to overwrite critical files in your private data space, causing serious may lead to consequences,” Microsoft said.

Both Microsoft and Google provide tips to developers on how to work around this issue. End users, on the other hand, can reduce risk by ensuring that Android apps are up to date and only installing apps from trusted sources.




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