Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

8/8/2016
02:18 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Newly Announced Chipset Vuln Affects 900 Million Android Devices

Check Point Research Team details four vulnerabilities that can easily lead to full privilege escalation.

Over 900 million Android smartphones and tablets are at risk of a full device compromise due to a dangerous grouping of vulnerabilities found and discussed at length at Defcon yesterday by researchers with Check Point Research Team. Dubbed the QuadRooter vulnerabilities, each of the foursome uncovered by these researchers enables attackers to trigger privilege escalation and eventually achieve root in affected devices.

All four vulnerabilities are hidden in different software drivers control communication between hardware components developed in Qualcomm chipsets for these devices. They're found in four different modules: the inter-process communication router module, a shared memory feature, and two different graphics modules. They're folded directly into the Android operating system developed for each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that uses these chipsets within their devices, including Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG, among many others.

"An attacker can exploit these vulnerabilities using a malicious app," wrote Check Point researchers in a report on the vulnerabilities. "These apps require no special permissions to take advantage of these vulnerabilities, alleviating any suspicion users may have when installing."

 First disclosed to Qualcomm back in April, the vulnerabilities have been acknowledged by Qualcomm and ranked as high risk by the hardware company, which released patches to all affected OEMs. But this is yet another situation that highlights the tangled mess that is the vulnerability management process within the extremely fragmented Android marketplace.

The difficulty rests in the complicated nature of the Android device supply chain, which is not monolithic the way Apple's is due to the fact that the platform is used by so many different device manufacturers. Not only are there the OEM handset manufacturers that build out the devices, there are suppliers like Qualcomm that build the pieces and connecting software modules that are put together in the final product.

 "Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) combine these software modules, Android builds from Google, and their own customizations to create a unique Android build for a particular device," explains the report. "Distributors resell the devices, often including their own customizations and apps –creating yet another unique Android build. When patches are required, they must flow through this supply chain before making it onto an end user’s device."

The process of rolling up a patch for a vulnerability like these found within a device component all the way up into individual builds can take an exceedingly long amount of time, if it happens at all. In many cases current devices in the hands of users are never patched because older versions of the Android platform don't support any further updates. Further adding a wrinkle into this is the fact that most of the updates that need to be made in devices already on the market are pushed out by another third-party, the network carrier. 

It is a thorny issue, and one without an immediate fix, though the Feds, for one, are already looking into it. In May, the Federal Trade Commission ordered a study to be carried out to figure out why the process is so broken. 

In this case, Check Point has released a new utility that helps individual users figure out if their devices are affected by QuadRooter.

Related Content:

 

 

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Patches Wormable RCE Vulns in Remote Desktop Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/13/2019
The Mainframe Is Seeing a Resurgence. Is Security Keeping Pace?
Ray Overby, Co-Founder & President at Key Resources, Inc.,  8/15/2019
GitHub Named in Capital One Breach Lawsuit
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15151
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-18
AdPlug 2.3.1 has a double free in the Cu6mPlayer class in u6m.h.
CVE-2019-15149
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-18
core.py in Mitogen before 0.2.8 has a typo that drops the unidirectional-routing protection mechanism in the case of a child that is initiated by another child. The Ansible extension is unaffected.
CVE-2019-15145
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-18
DjVuLibre 3.5.27 allows attackers to cause a denial-of-service attack (application crash via an out-of-bounds read) by crafting a corrupted JB2 image file that is mishandled in JB2Dict::JB2Codec::get_direct_context in libdjvu/JB2Image.h because of a missing zero-bytes check in libdjvu/GBitmap.h.
CVE-2019-15146
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-18
GoPro GPMF-parser 1.2.2 has a heap-based buffer over-read (4 bytes) in GPMF_Next in GPMF_parser.c.
CVE-2019-15147
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-18
GoPro GPMF-parser 1.2.2 has an out-of-bounds read and SEGV in GPMF_Next in GPMF_parser.c.