Intent redirection vulnerabilities in well known Android apps spotlight threat of dynamic code loading, warn scientists

Bug could permit a malicious application to steal a plethora of delicate knowledge from user’s unit Current Android application builders have been urged not to load code dynamically due to the fact of the heightened hazard of code execution vulnerabilities. Protection researchers issued the warning soon after disclosing details of […]

Bug could permit a malicious application to steal a plethora of delicate knowledge from user’s unit

Current Android application builders have been urged not to load code dynamically due to the fact of the heightened hazard of code execution vulnerabilities.

Protection researchers issued the warning soon after disclosing details of an ‘intent redirection’ vulnerability in the Google-for-Android application.

“This could have allowed any app put in on the same product to steal arbitrary info from it, for example, accessing a Google account, user’s research historical past, voice assistant interaction data, mail from Gmail, and to intercept app rights, together with accessibility to study and mail SMS messages, contacts, phone heritage (as perfectly as generating and getting calls), calendar, microphone, camera, locale, Bluetooth and NFC,” reads a site submit from Oversecured, developer of an eponymous cell app vulnerability scanner.

Even worse continue to, “the attacker’s application needed to launch only as soon as for this attack to thrive. Following that, even if the app was taken off, the malicious functionality would keep on to be existing in the Google app independently. Additionally, the assault did not require any consumer consent or notice.”

Read far more of the most up-to-date cell stability information

Even with Oversecured’s warning about the hazards posed, “almost every single Android app dynamically masses code from native .iso libraries or .dex files”, a approach simplified by libraries this sort of as Google Engage in Main, reported the blog site article.

“We want to influence builders not to load any code dynamically, due to the fact this unsafe practice can escalate a vulnerability that lets stealing/overwriting arbitrary data files into significant code execution within a vulnerable app.”

Google fastened the bug in problem in May possibly 2021.

Oversecured also disclosed specifics of a similar vulnerability in the TikTok application in September 2020.

Malicious Intent

The scientists alighted on a possible challenge when, throughout a probe of Google’s application, they located a material service provider with the flag , made up of a handler that could give yet another application authorization to examine and generate accessibility to arbitrary data files.

The scan also “indicated that the app takes advantage of the Google Enjoy Core library”, which means “if an attacker wrote an arbitrary module, the courses from the attacker’s module would routinely be additional to the of the app”.

Describing intent redirection vulnerabilities, Google claims:

Applications that extract Intents from the Extras field of an untrusted Intent and launch a ingredient by contacting startActivity (or likewise, startService, or sendBroadcast) on an extracted Intent can be tricked into (1) launching an unintended personal element which can direct to performing sensitive actions with poisoned arguments, and/or (2) unintentionally launching one more app’s parts, which can guide to possessing delicate documents stolen through granted URI permissions.

Google warning

Google has warned builders that applications containing intent redirection vulnerabilities will be taken out from the Google Enjoy keep if they are not patched within a provided time frame.

The tech giant has advised them to check their Enjoy Console for alerts indicating when applications are impacted and, if so, submit patched versions for critique in advance of the deadline indicated.

Google sets out methods to repairing the bugs in one of 3 means: making the application component from which the extracted Intent is redirected personal making certain that the extracted Intent is from a trusted source or making sure that the Intent staying redirected is not hazardous.

Sergey Toshin, founder of Oversecured, shared his suggestions with The Everyday Swig.

“It’s not apparent, but in most conditions, libraries (these as commonly used Google Enjoy Main or Facebook ImagePipeline) normally test normally lacking files and then routinely load them if existing,” he mentioned.

“I would propose verifying all the application dependencies if they have this sort of constructed-in performance (e.g., Oversecured immediately checks these types of challenges). If builders do not intend dynamic code loading, that is significant to get rid of this sort of dependencies. If developers intend it, they should really shop indigenous libraries in the app’s sources (lib/ folder).”

This report was updated on June 21 with opinions from Sergey Toshin of Oversecured

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