Vulnerabilities / Threats

02:53 PM

Researcher Wants To Charge Nokia, Sun For Phone Vulnerability

Polish researcher Adam Gowdiak said he's discovered 14 security issues with J2ME on Nokia handsets, but he's charging the vendors for full details.

A security researcher said he has discovered serious vulnerabilities in the mobile Java technology on some Nokia handsets, but his method of raising awareness of this bug is potentially controversial.

Security researcher Adam Gowdiak, who is setting up the security company Security Explorations, said he's found 14 vulnerabilities in Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) that could allow hackers to attack Nokia's Series 40 handsets.

Gowdiak told InformationWeek he provided Sun Microsystems and Nokia with a briefing of the vulnerabilities he's uncovered. But he's charging the companies 20,000 euros, or about $29,870, to get the rest of the 178-page report detailing the security flaws, including two proof-of-concept tests.

The Nokia Series 40 is a proprietary platform that operates the majority of the company's midrange handsets. This means that potentially hundreds of millions of devices are at risk, Gowdiak said.

With only the phone number, an attacker could send a series of messages that could exploit the flaw by putting malicious Java applications on the handset. This could allow the hacker to make calls, access the SIM card, record conversations, and install applications on the handset without the owner's knowledge, Gowdiak said.

"This could completely wipe out any security within J2ME," Gowdiak said.

He recognized that the approach would be controversial, but he said he thinks this is the best way to fund his startup.

"I know there will be some who hate this, but I am hoping to set up a world-class security research center and the company needs funds to do that," Gowdiak said. "I am good at revealing security weaknesses, and this report represents an enormous amount of research."

He scoffs at the notion that he is blackmailing the companies as he said Sun and Nokia have been briefed on the issue. Additionally, the researcher said the vulnerability report will only be available to security firms, vendors, telecommunication companies, and government agencies.

Nokia and Sun did not comment or confirm the flaws by press time.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Who Does What in Cybersecurity at the C-Level
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  3/16/2018
New 'Mac-A-Mal' Tool Automates Mac Malware Hunting & Analysis
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  3/14/2018
(ISC)2 Report: Glaring Disparity in Diversity for US Cybersecurity
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  3/15/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.