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Android Q — Google Adds New Mobile Security and Privacy Features

Android Q — Google Adds New Mobile Security and Privacy Features

Mar 19, 2019
Google has recently released the first beta version of Android Q, the next upcoming version of Google's popular mobile operating system, with a lot of new privacy improvements and other security enhancements. Android Q, where Q has not yet been named, offers more control over installed apps, their access, and permissions, and location settings; more support for passive authentication like face ID, and warnings when you install a new app targeting Android Marshmallow or older. Instead of directly going through dozens of different pages Google published about Android Q, here I have summarized all new privacy and security features of the new version of Android you can quickly learn from: 1) Stop Android Apps From Tracking Your Location in the Background Android Q gives you more control over how an app can use your device location information. Currently, you have a single option to either allow or deny an app access to your device location, doesn't matter if it is in-use
First Android Clipboard Hijacking Crypto Malware Found On Google Play Store

First Android Clipboard Hijacking Crypto Malware Found On Google Play Store

Feb 11, 2019
A security researcher has discovered yet another cryptocurrency-stealing malware on the official Google Play Store that was designed to secretly steal bitcoin and cryptocurrency from unwitting users. The malware, described as a " Clipper ," masqueraded as a legitimate cryptocurrency app and worked by replacing cryptocurrency wallet addresses copied into the Android clipboard with one belonging to attackers, ESET researcher Lukas Stefanko explained in a blog post . Since cryptocurrency wallet addresses are made up of long strings of characters for security reasons, users usually prefer copying and pasting the wallet addresses using the clipboard over typing them out. The newly discovered clipper malware, dubbed Android/Clipper.C by ESET, took advantage of this behavior to steal users cryptocurrency. To do this, attackers first tricked users into installing the malicious app that impersonated a legitimate cryptocurrency service called MetaMask , claiming to let users
AI Copilot: Launching Innovation Rockets, But Beware of the Darkness Ahead

AI Copilot: Launching Innovation Rockets, But Beware of the Darkness Ahead

Apr 15, 2024Secure Coding / Artificial Intelligence
Imagine a world where the software that powers your favorite apps, secures your online transactions, and keeps your digital life could be outsmarted and taken over by a cleverly disguised piece of code. This isn't a plot from the latest cyber-thriller; it's actually been a reality for years now. How this will change – in a positive or negative direction – as artificial intelligence (AI) takes on a larger role in software development is one of the big uncertainties related to this brave new world. In an era where AI promises to revolutionize how we live and work, the conversation about its security implications cannot be sidelined. As we increasingly rely on AI for tasks ranging from mundane to mission-critical, the question is no longer just, "Can AI  boost cybersecurity ?" (sure!), but also "Can AI  be hacked? " (yes!), "Can one use AI  to hack? " (of course!), and "Will AI  produce secure software ?" (well…). This thought leadership article is about the latter. Cydrill  (a
Google Makes 2 Years of Android Security Updates Mandatory for Device Makers

Google Makes 2 Years of Android Security Updates Mandatory for Device Makers

Oct 25, 2018
When it comes to security updates, Android is a real mess. Even after Google timely rolls out security patches for its Android platform, a major part of the Android ecosystem remains exposed to hackers because device manufacturers do not deliver patches regularly and on a timely basis to their customers. To deal with this issue, Google at its I/O Developer Conference May 2018 revealed the company's plan to update its OEM agreements that would require Android device manufacturers to roll out at least security updates regularly. Now, a leaked, unverified copy of a new contract between Google and OEMs obtained by The Verge reveals some terms of the agreement that device manufacturers have to comply with or otherwise they have to lose their Google certification for upcoming Android devices. Google's New Terms for Android Security Updates According to the leaked contract, Android OEMs will now be required to regularly roll out security updates for popular devices—lau
cyber security

Today's Top 4 Identity Threat Exposures: Where To Find Them and How To Stop Them

websiteSilverfortIdentity Protection / Attack Surface
Explore the first ever threat report 100% focused on the prevalence of identity security gaps you may not be aware of.
Google to Encrypt Android Cloud Backups With Your Lock Screen Password

Google to Encrypt Android Cloud Backups With Your Lock Screen Password

Oct 15, 2018
In an effort to secure users' data while maintaining privacy, Google has announced a new security measure for Android Backup Service that now encrypts all your backup data stored on its cloud servers in a way that even the company can't read it. Google allows Android users to automatically backup their essential app data and settings to their Google account, allowing them to simply restore it when required, instead of re-configuring all the apps after formatting or switching to a new phone. However, until now your backup data was not encrypted and visible to Google, and now the company is going to change its storage procedure. Starting with Android Pie, Google is going to encrypt your Android device backup data in the following way: Step 1: Your Android device will generate a random secret key (not known to Google), Step 2: The secret key will then get encrypted using your lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode (not known to Google), Step 3: This passcode-protected
Google Adds Control-Flow Integrity to Beef up Android Kernel Security

Google Adds Control-Flow Integrity to Beef up Android Kernel Security

Oct 12, 2018
Google has added a new security feature to the latest Linux kernels for Android devices to prevent it against code reuse attacks that allow attackers to achieve arbitrary code execution by exploiting control-flow hijacking vulnerabilities. In code reuse attacks, attackers exploit memory corruption bugs (buffer overflows, type confusion, or integer overflows) to take over code pointers stored in memory and repurpose existing code in a way that directs control flow of their choice, resulting in a malicious action. Since Android has a lot of mitigation to prevent direct code injection into its kernel, this code reuse method is particularly popular among hackers to gain code execution with the kernel because of the huge number of function pointers it uses. In an attempt to prevent this attack, Google has now added support for LLVM's Control Flow Integrity (CFI) to Android's kernel as a measure for detecting unusual behaviors of attackers trying to interfere or modify the contr
Critical Flaw in Fortnite Android App Lets Hackers Install Malware

Critical Flaw in Fortnite Android App Lets Hackers Install Malware

Aug 27, 2018
Security researchers from Google have publicly disclosed an extremely serious security flaw in the first Fortnite installer for Android that could allow other apps installed on the targeted devices to manipulate installation process and load malware, instead of the Fortnite APK. Earlier this month, Epic Games announced not to make its insanely popular game ' Fortnite for Android ' available through the Google Play Store, but via its own app. Many researchers warned the company that this approach could potentially put Android users at a greater risk, as downloading APKs outside of the Play Store is not recommended and requires users to disable some security features on Android devices as well. And it seems like those fears and concerns were true. Google developers discovered a dangerous security flaw as soon as the Fortnite game launched on Android. Fortnite Android Installer Vulnerable to Man-in-the-Disk Attack In a proof-of-concept video published by Google, r
New Man-in-the-Disk attack leaves millions of Android phones vulnerable

New Man-in-the-Disk attack leaves millions of Android phones vulnerable

Aug 14, 2018
Security researchers at Check Point Software Technologies have discovered a new attack vector against the Android operating system that could potentially allow attackers to silently infect your smartphones with malicious apps or launch denial of service attacks. Dubbed Man-in-the-Disk , the attack takes advantage of the way Android apps utilize 'External Storage' system to store app-related data, which if tampered could result in code injection in the privileged context of the targeted application. It should be noted that apps on the Android operating system can store its resources on the device in two locations—internal storage and external storage. Google itself offers guidelines to Android application developers urging them to use internal storage, which is an isolated space allocated to each application protected using Android's built-in sandbox, to store their sensitive files or data. However, researchers found that many popular apps—including Google Translate
Fortnite APK Download for Android Won't Be Available on Google Play Store

Fortnite APK Download for Android Won't Be Available on Google Play Store

Aug 06, 2018
There's both good news and bad news for Fortnite game lovers. Fortnite, one of the most popular games in the world right now, is coming to Android devices very soon, but players would not be able to download Fortnite APK from the Google Play Store. Instead, Epic Games software development company has confirmed the Fortnite APK for Android will be available for download exclusively only through its official website, bypassing the Google Play Store. Why Fortnite for Android Bypassing Google Play Store? Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney cites two main reasons for this decision. First, offering Fortnite APK downloads directly from its official website will allow the company to "have a direct relationship" with its consumers. Second, since Google takes a 30 percent cut of revenue each time a user makes an in-app purchase through its Play Store, the decision will allow the company to save millions. This should not be shocking as Fortnite on iOS made $15 million in j
Thousands of Android Devices Running Insecure Remote ADB Service

Thousands of Android Devices Running Insecure Remote ADB Service

Jun 12, 2018
Despite warnings about the threat of leaving insecure remote services enabled on Android devices, manufacturers continue to ship devices with open ADB debug port setups that leave Android-based devices exposed to hackers. Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a command-line feature that generally uses for diagnostic and debugging purposes by helping app developers communicate with Android devices remotely to execute commands and, if necessary, completely control a device. Usually, developers connect to ADB service installed on Android devices using a USB cable, but it is also possible to use ADB wirelessly by enabling a daemon server at TCP port 5555 on the device. If left enabled, unauthorized remote attackers can scan the Internet to find a list of insecure Android devices running ADB debug interface over port 5555, remotely access them with highest "root" privileges, and then silently install malware without any authentication. Therefore, vendors are recommended to make
Google Makes it Mandatory for OEMs to Roll Out Android Security Updates Regularly

Google Makes it Mandatory for OEMs to Roll Out Android Security Updates Regularly

May 11, 2018
Security of Android devices has been a nightmare since its inception, and the biggest reason being is that users don't receive latest security patch updates regularly. Precisely, it's your device manufacturer (Android OEMs) actually who takes time to roll out security patches for your devices and sometimes, even has been caught lying about security updates , telling customers that their smartphones are running the latest updates. Since Google did not have direct control over the OEM branded firmware running on billions of devices, it brought some significant changes to the Android system architecture last year with Project Treble gain more control over the update process. Although Google and device manufacturers have made some progress in the past year, the problem with the security update remains because of OEMs not delivering all patches regularly and on a timely basis, leaving parts of the Android ecosystem exposed to hackers. But here's good news—starting wi
Android P to Block Apps From Monitoring Device Network Activity

Android P to Block Apps From Monitoring Device Network Activity

May 07, 2018
Do you know that any app you have installed on your Android phone can monitor the network activities—even without asking for any sensitive permission—to detect when other apps on your phone are connecting to the Internet? Obviously, they cant see the content of the network traffic, but can easily find to which server you are connecting to, all without your knowledge. Knowing what apps you often use, which could be a competing or a financial app, "shady" or "malicious" app can abuse this information in various ways to breach your privacy. But it seems like Google has planned to address this serious privacy issue with the release of its next flagship mobile operating system. With Android P, any app will no longer be able to detect when other apps on your Android device are connecting to the Internet, according to the new code changes in Android Open Source Project (AOSP) first noticed by XDA Developers. "A new commit has appeared in the Android Open S
Popular Android Phone Manufacturers Caught Lying About Security Updates

Popular Android Phone Manufacturers Caught Lying About Security Updates

Apr 13, 2018
Android ecosystem is highly broken when it comes to security, and device manufacturers (better known as OEMs) make it even worse by not providing critical patches in time. According to a new study, most Android vendors have been lying to users about security updates and telling customers that their smartphones are running the latest updates. In other words, most smartphone manufacturers including big players like Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Sony, HTC, LG, and Huawei are not delivering you every critical security patch they're supposed to, a study by Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of German security firm Security Research Labs (SRL) revealed. Nohl and Lell examined the firmware of 1,200 smartphones from over a dozen vendors, for every Android patch released last year, and found that many devices have a "patch gap," leaving parts of the Android ecosystem exposed to hackers. "Sometimes these guys just change the date without installing any patches. Probably for m
Google Begins Removing Play Store Apps Misusing Android Accessibility Services

Google Begins Removing Play Store Apps Misusing Android Accessibility Services

Nov 14, 2017
Due to rise in malware and adware abusing Android accessibility services, Google has finally decided to take strict steps against the apps on its app platform that misuse this feature. Google has emailed Android app developers informing them that within 30 days, they must show how accessibility code used in their apps is helping disabled users or their apps will be removed from its Play Store entirely. For those who are unaware, Android's accessibility services are meant to help disabled people interact with their smartphone devices ( such as automatically filling out forms, overlaying content or switching between apps ) by allowing app-makers to integrate verbal feedback, voice commands and more in their apps. Many popular Android apps use the accessibility API to legitimately provide users with benefits, but over the past few months, we have seen a series of malware, including DoubleLocker ransomware, Svpeng , and BankBot , misusing this feature to infect people. Re
Google Play Store Launches Bug Bounty Program to Protect Popular Android Apps

Google Play Store Launches Bug Bounty Program to Protect Popular Android Apps

Oct 19, 2017
Better late than never. Google has finally launched a bug bounty program for Android apps on Google Play Store, inviting security researchers to find and report vulnerabilities in some of the most popular Android apps. Dubbed " Google Play Security Reward ," the bug bounty program offers security researchers to work directly with Android app developers to find and fix vulnerabilities in their apps, for which Google will pay $1000 in rewards. "The goal of the program is to further improve app security which will benefit developers, Android users, and the entire Google Play ecosystem," the technology giant says in a blog post published today. Google has collaborated with bug bounty platform, HackerOne, to manage backend for this program, like submitting reports and inviting white-hat hackers and researchers. White-hat hackers who wish to participate can submit their findings directly to the app developers. Once the security vulnerability has been resolved, th
OnePlus Secretly Collects Way More Data Than It Should — Here’s How to Disable It

OnePlus Secretly Collects Way More Data Than It Should — Here's How to Disable It

Oct 10, 2017
There is terrible news for all OnePlus lovers. Your OnePlus handset, running OxygenOS—the company's custom version of the Android operating system, is collecting way more data on its users than it requires. A recent blog post published today by security researcher Christopher Moore on his website detailed the data collection practice by the Shenzhen-based Chinese smartphone maker, revealing that OxygenOS built-in analytics is regularly sending users' telemetry data to OnePlus' servers. Collecting basic telemetry device data is a usual practice that every software maker and device manufacturers do to identify, analyse and fix software issues and help improve the quality of their products, but OnePlus found collecting user identification information as well. Moore simply started intercepting the network traffic to analyse what data his OnePlus device sends to its servers, and found that the data collected by the company included: User' phone number MAC addresse
Red Alert 2.0: New Android Banking Trojan for Sale on Hacking Forums

Red Alert 2.0: New Android Banking Trojan for Sale on Hacking Forums

Sep 19, 2017
The Recent discoveries of dangerous variants of the Android banking Trojan families, including Faketoken , Svpeng , and BankBot , present a significant threat to online users who may have their login credentials and valuable personal data stolen. Security researchers from SfyLabs have now discovered a new Android banking Trojan that is being rented on many dark websites for $500 per month, SfyLabs' researcher Han Sahin told The Hacker News. Dubbed Red Alert 2.0 , the Android banking malware has been fully written from scratch, unlike other banking trojans, such as BankBot and ExoBot, which were evolved from the leaked source code of older trojans. The Red Alert banking malware has been distributed via many online hacking forums since last few months, and its creators have continuously been updating the malware to add new functionalities in an effort to make it a dangerous threat to potential victims. Malware Blocks Incoming Calls from Banks Like most other Android b
Mobile Bootloaders From Top Manufacturers Found Vulnerable to Persistent Threats

Mobile Bootloaders From Top Manufacturers Found Vulnerable to Persistent Threats

Sep 06, 2017
Security researchers have discovered several severe zero-day vulnerabilities in the mobile bootloaders from at least four popular device manufacturers that could allow an attacker to gain persistent root access on the device. A team of nine security researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara created a special static binary tool called BootStomp that automatically detects security vulnerabilities in bootloaders. Since bootloaders are usually closed source and hard to reverse-engineer, performing analysis on them is difficult, especially because hardware dependencies hinder dynamic analysis. Therefore, the researchers created BootStomp, which "uses a novel combination of static analysis techniques and underconstrained symbolic execution to build a multi-tag taint analysis capable of identifying bootloader vulnerabilities." The tool helped the researchers discover six previously-unknown critical security bugs across bootloaders from HiSilicon (Huawe
WireX DDoS Botnet: An Army of Thousands of Hacked Android SmartPhones

WireX DDoS Botnet: An Army of Thousands of Hacked Android SmartPhones

Aug 28, 2017
Do you believe that just because you have downloaded an app from the official app store, you're safe from malware? Think twice before believing it. A team of security researchers from several security firms have uncovered a new, widespread botnet that consists of tens of thousands of hacked Android smartphones. Dubbed WireX, detected as "Android Clicker," the botnet network primarily includes infected Android devices running one of the hundreds of malicious apps installed from Google Play Store and is designed to conduct massive application layer DDoS attacks. Researchers from different Internet technology and security companies—which includes Akamai, CloudFlare , Flashpoint, Google, Oracle Dyn, RiskIQ, Team Cymru—spotted a series of cyber attacks earlier this month, and they collaborated to combat it. Although Android malware campaigns are quite common these days and this newly discovered campaign is also not that much sophisticated, I am quite impressed wit
Android 8.0 Oreo Released – 11 New Features That Make Android Even Better

Android 8.0 Oreo Released – 11 New Features That Make Android Even Better

Aug 22, 2017
While the moon was eclipsing the sun, Google announced the launch of its new mobile operating system called Android 8.0 Oreo in an Eclipse-themed launch event in New York City. Yes, the next version of sugary snack-themed Android and the successor to Android Nougat will now be known as Android Oreo , the company revealed on Monday. Google has maintained the tradition of naming its Android operating system by the names of alphabetically-ordered sugary delights beginning with Android Cupcake and followed by Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat. The good news is that the Android team has brought several significant features to your smartphone and tablet with the release of Android Oreo to make its mobile platform more secure, fast, power efficient and offer better multitasking. The new updated mobile operating system, which has been available for the last few months in developer beta, will arriv
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