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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: mobile security

Major Instagram App Bug Could've Given Hackers Remote Access to Your Phone

Major Instagram App Bug Could've Given Hackers Remote Access to Your Phone

September 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Ever wonder how hackers can hack your smartphone remotely? In a report shared with The Hacker News today, Check Point researchers disclosed details about a  critical vulnerability  in Instagram's Android app that could have allowed remote attackers to take control over a targeted device just by sending victims a specially crafted image. What's more worrisome is that the flaw not only lets attackers perform actions on behalf of the user within the Instagram app—including spying on victim's private messages and even deleting or posting photos from their accounts—but also execute arbitrary code on the device. According to an  advisory  published by Facebook, the heap overflow security issue (tracked as CVE-2020-1895 , CVSS score: 7.8) impacts all versions of the Instagram app prior to 128.0.0.26.128, which was released on February 10 earlier this year. "This [flaw] turns the device into a tool for spying on targeted users without their knowledge, as well as enabling
Android 11 — 5 New Security and Privacy Features You Need to Know

Android 11 — 5 New Security and Privacy Features You Need to Know

September 18, 2020Anchit Sharma
After a long wait and months of beta testing, Google last week finally released Android 11 , the latest version of the Android mobile operating system—with features offering billions of its users more control over their data security and privacy. Android security is always a hot topic and almost always for the wrong reason, including Google's failure to prevent malicious apps from being distributed through the Play Store, over-claim of permissions by apps, and privacy leakages. Though most of such issues can be avoided as long as users take advantage of already available features and a little common sense, most users are still not aware of or following basic security practices. According to Google's latest announcement, the latest Android 11 OS includes a few new built-in measures designed to keep users' data secure by default, increase transparency, and offer better control. Instead of diving deep into smaller or more extensive changes, we have summarized some critica
Popular iOS SDK Accused of Spying on Billions of Users and Committing Ad Fraud

Popular iOS SDK Accused of Spying on Billions of Users and Committing Ad Fraud

August 25, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A popular iOS software development kit (SDK) used by over 1,200 apps—with a total of more than a billion mobile users—is said to contain malicious code with the goal of perpetrating mobile ad-click fraud and capturing sensitive information. According to a report published by cybersecurity firm Snyk , Mintegral — a mobile programmatic advertising platform owned by Chinese mobile ad tech company Mobvista — includes an SDK component that allows it to collect URLs, device identifiers, IP Address, operating system version, and other user sensitive data from compromised apps to a remote logging server. The malicious iOS SDK has been named "SourMint" by Snyk researchers. "The malicious code can spy on user activity by logging URL-based requests made through the app," Snyk's Alyssa Miller said in a Monday analysis. "This activity is logged to a third-party server and could potentially include personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive in
7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

April 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
In our previous stories, you might have already read about various campaigns warning how threat actors are capitalizing on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to infect your computers and mobile devices with malware or scam you out of your money. Unfortunately, to some extent, it's working, and that's because the attack surface is changing and expanding rapidly as many organizations and business tasks are going digital without much preparation, exposing themselves to more potential threats. Most of the recent cyberattacks are primarily exploiting the fears around the COVID-19 outbreak—fueled by disinformation and fake news—to distribute malware via Google Play apps , malicious links and attachments, and execute ransomware attacks. Here, we took a look at some of the wide range of unseen threats rising in the digital space, powered by coronavirus-themed lures that cybercriminals are using for espionage and commercial gain. The latest development adds to a l
Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones

Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones

March 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered watering-hole campaign is targeting Apple iPhone users in Hong Kong by using malicious website links as a lure to install spyware on the devices. According to research published by Trend Micro and Kaspersky , the " Operation Poisoned News " attack leverages a remote iOS exploit chain to deploy a feature-rich implant called 'LightSpy' through links to local news websites, which when clicked, executes the malware payload and allows an interloper to exfiltrate sensitive data from the affected device and even take full control. Watering-hole attacks typically let a bad actor compromise a specific group of end-users by infecting websites that they are known to visit, with an intention to gain access to the victim's device and load it with malware. The APT group, dubbed "TwoSail Junk" by Kaspersky, is said to be leveraging vulnerabilities present in iOS 12.1 and 12.2 spanning all models from iPhone 6 to the iPhone X, with the attac
Europol Arrests 26 SIM Swapping Fraudsters For Stealing Over $3 Million

Europol Arrests 26 SIM Swapping Fraudsters For Stealing Over $3 Million

March 16, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Europol, along with the Spanish and the Romanian national police, has arrested 26 individuals in connection with the theft of over €3.5 million ($3.9 million) by hijacking people's phone numbers via SIM swapping attacks. The law enforcement agencies arrested 12 and 14 people in Spain and Romania, respectively, as part of a joint operation against two different groups of SIM swappers, Europol said . The development comes as SIM swapping attacks are emerging as one of the biggest threats to telecom operators and mobile users alike. The increasingly popular and damaging hack is a clever social engineering trick used by cybercriminals to persuade phone carriers into transferring their victims' cell services to a SIM card under their control. The SIM swap then grants attackers access to incoming phone calls, text messages, and one-time verification codes (or one-time passwords ) that various websites send via SMS messages as part of the two-factor authentication (2FA) proc
New LTE Network Flaw Could Let Attackers Impersonate 4G Mobile Users

New LTE Network Flaw Could Let Attackers Impersonate 4G Mobile Users

February 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A group of academics from Ruhr University Bochum and New York University Abu Dhabi have uncovered security flaws in 4G LTE and 5G networks that could potentially allow hackers to impersonate users on the network and even sign up for paid subscriptions on their behalf. The impersonation attack — named " IMPersonation Attacks in 4G NeTworks " (or IMP4GT ) — exploits the mutual authentication method used by the mobile phone and the network's base station to verify their respective identities to manipulate data packets in transit. "The IMP4GT attacks exploit the missing integrity protection for user data, and a reflection mechanism of the IP stack mobile operating system. We can make use of the reflection mechanism to build an encryption and decryption oracle. Along with the lack of integrity protection, this allows to inject arbitrary packets and to decrypt packets," the researchers explained. The research was presented at the Network Distributed System Se
Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads

Google Bans 600 Android Apps from Play Store for Serving Disruptive Ads

February 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has banned nearly 600 Android apps from the Play Store for bombarding users with disruptive ads and violating its advertising guidelines. The company categorizes disruptive ads as "ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions," such as a full-screen ad served when attempting to make a phone call. Although Google didn't name the specific apps in question, many of the apps — which had been installed more than 4.5 billion times — primarily targeted English-speaking users and were mainly from developers based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, according to Buzzfeed News. Highlighting that malicious developers are getting "more savvy in deploying and masking disruptive ads," the company said it has developed new counter mechanisms to detect such behavior. Trouble in Google Play Store This is not the first time adware apps have been removed from the Google P
Unpatched Strandhogg Android Vulnerability Actively Exploited in the Wild

Unpatched Strandhogg Android Vulnerability Actively Exploited in the Wild

December 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new unpatched vulnerability in the Android operating system that dozens of malicious mobile apps are already exploiting in the wild to steal users' banking and other login credentials and spy on their activities. Dubbed Strandhogg , the vulnerability resides in the multitasking feature of Android that can be exploited by a malicious app installed on a device to masquerade as any other app on it, including any privileged system app. In other words, when a user taps the icon of a legitimate app, the malware exploiting the Strandhogg vulnerability can intercept and hijack this task to display a fake interface to the user instead of launching the legitimate application. By tricking users into thinking they are using a legitimate app, the vulnerability makes it possible for malicious apps to conveniently steal users' credentials using fake login screens, as shown in the video demonstration. "The vulnerability allows an attacke
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to replace SMS with RCS Messaging in 2020

October 25, 2019Mohit Kumar
Mobile carriers in the United States will finally offer a universal cross-carrier communication standard for the next-generation RCS messaging service that is meant to replace SMS and has the potential to change the way consumers interact with brands for years to come. All major United States mobile phone carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have joined forces to launch a new initiative that will replace SMS with RCS mobile messaging standard . What's more? The initiative is also working with its carrier ownership group and other companies to develop and deploy the new RCS standard in a new text messaging app for Android phones that is expected to be launched in 2020. The goal of this joint venture , dubbed the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) , is to deliver the GSMA's Rich Communications Service (RCS) industry standard to consumers and businesses on each of the four carriers, both in the United States and globally. "Efforts like
Just An SMS Could Let Remote Attackers Access All Your Emails, Experts Warn

Just An SMS Could Let Remote Attackers Access All Your Emails, Experts Warn

September 04, 2019Mohit Kumar
Beware! Billion of Android users can easily be tricked into changing their devices' critical network settings with just an SMS-based phishing attack. Whenever you insert a new SIM in your phone and connects to your cellular network for the very first time, your carrier service automatically configures or sends you a message containing network-specific settings required to connect to data services. While manually installing it on your device, have you ever noticed what configurations these messages, technically known as OMA CP messages, include? Well, believe me, most users never bother about it if their mobile Internet services work smoothly. But you should worry about these settings, as installing untrusted settings can put your data privacy at risk, allowing remote attackers to spy on your data communications, a team of cybersecurity researchers told The Hacker News. Mobile carriers send OMA CP (Open Mobile Alliance Client Provisioning) messages containing APN settin
Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram

Hackers Can Manipulate Media Files You Receive Via WhatsApp and Telegram

July 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
If you think that the media files you receive on your end-to-end encrypted secure messaging apps can not be tampered with, you need to think again. Security researchers at Symantec yesterday demonstrated multiple interesting attack scenarios against WhatsApp and Telegram Android apps, which could allow malicious actors to spread fake news or scam users into sending payments to wrong accounts. Dubbed " Media File Jacking ," the attack leverages an already known fact that any app installed on a device can access and rewrite files saved in the external storage, including files saved by other apps installed on the same device. WhatsApp and Telegram allow users to choose if they want to save all incoming multimedia files on internal or external storage of their device. However, WhatsApp for Android by default automatically stores media files in the external storage, while Telegram for Android uses internal storage to store users files that are not accessible to any othe
New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices

New Malware Replaced Legit Android Apps With Fake Ones On 25 Million Devices

July 11, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Are you sure the WhatsApp app you are using on your Android device is legitimate, even if it's working perfectly as intended? ...Or the JioTV, AppLock, HotStar, Flipkart, Opera Mini or Truecaller app—if you have installed any of these? I'm asking this because cybersecurity researchers just yesterday revealed eye-opening details about a widespread Android malware campaign wherein attackers silently replaced installed legitimate apps with their malicious versions on nearly 25 million mobile phones. Now the important question here is how they're doing it and why? According to researchers at Check Point, attackers are distributing a new kind of Android malware that disguises itself as innocent-looking photo editing, adult entertainment, or gaming apps and available through widely used third-party app stores. Dubbed Agent Smith , the malware takes advantage of multiple Android vulnerabilities, such as the  Janus flaw and the Man-in-the-Disk flaw , and injects malic
Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

Over 1,300 Android Apps Caught Collecting Data Even If You Deny Permissions

July 09, 2019Mohit Kumar
Smartphones are a goldmine of sensitive data, and modern apps work as diggers that continuously collect every possible information from your devices. The security model of modern mobile operating systems, like Android and iOS, is primarily based on permissions that explicitly define which sensitive services, device capabilities, or user information an app can access, allowing users decide what apps can access. However, new findings by a team of researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in California revealed that mobile app developers are using shady techniques to harvest users' data even after they deny permissions. In their talk " 50 Ways to Pour Your Data " [ PDF ] at PrivacyCon hosted by the Federal Trade Commission last Thursday, researchers presented their findings that outline how more than 1,300 Android apps are collecting users' precise geolocation data and phone identifiers even when they've explicitly denied the required permi
Android July 2019 Security Update Patches 33 New Vulnerabilities

Android July 2019 Security Update Patches 33 New Vulnerabilities

July 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Google has started rolling out this month's security updates for its mobile operating system platform to address a total of 33 new security vulnerabilities affecting Android devices, 9 of which have been rated critical in severity. The vulnerabilities affect various Android components, including the Android operating system, framework, library, media framework, as well as Qualcomm components, including closed-source components. Three of the critical vulnerabilities patched this month reside in Android's Media framework, the most severe of which could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a targeted device, within the context of a privileged process, by convincing users into opening a specially crafted malicious file. "The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigations are turned off for development purposes or if successfully bypas
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