Android is the most popular mobile platform. One of the main reasons for its popularity is its flexibility in terms of customization and a large number of third-party applications. You can even bypass the Google Play Store app market to load apps horizontally. However, all this also makes Android vulnerable to security threats-spy cameras– can cause malware attacks.
Besides, due to our increasing dependence on smartphones and tablets, we store more private data than ever before, making us more vulnerable to data theft.
Android vulnerable to security threats
If I say that allowing software installation from unknown sources does not bring you additional risk, I will lie. Malware is lurking in unofficial app stores that lack the security measures you find on Google Play.
But in most cases, it is easy to avoid using dangerous applications. Stick to the main app store or repository you can trust. Please do not install unless you can confirm the source of the APK. Avoid suspicious links that may include spy cameras in the same way as on a PC.
The same practices that ensure you are safe on your computer are fundamental to keep your other devices like:
Here are three major security threats that are vulnerable to Android!
- Client-side vulnerabilities
- Server-side vulnerabilities
- Mobile application threats
Android applications tend to contain serious vulnerabilities more frequently than vulnerabilities written for ios(43% vs. 38%). But this difference is not apparent. The overall security level of the mobile application client for Android and iosis roughly the same.
Approximately one-third of all vulnerabilities on the client-side of the two platforms are high-risk. Deep linking is a standard method for developers to communicate between an application extension and the application it contains.
Specific URL scheme registered.
In this case, the application is called by a specific URL scheme registered in the system. During the installation process, the containing application registers itself as a handler for Info’s scenarios. Such programs do not depend on the application. Therefore, if the device contains a malicious application that also handles the same URL scheme, there is no way to determine which application will win. This provides an opportunity for attackers to conduct phishing attacks and steal user credentials. Android provides an Intent message object as a way for application components to communicate with each other. If these messages are broadcast, malware in which an instance of Broadcast Receiver has been registered may destroy any sensitive data in it.
Server-side components contain vulnerabilities in both application code and application protection mechanisms. The latter include flaws in the implementation of two-factor authentication. Let us consider an exposure encountered by the expert in the application. Suppose two identical requests are sent to the server one after another immediately with a small interval between them. In that case, the one-time password is sent to the user’s device both as a push notification and via SMS and sent to the linked phone number SMS.
An attacker can intercept SMS messages and impersonate a legitimate user, for example, by clearing the user’s bank account.
Mobile application threats
Almost all of the applications we studied are at risk of being accessed by hackers. In the client-side vulnerabilities section, we pointed out that mobile applications’ most common problem is insecure data storage. So how does information end up in the hands of hackers? The most common situation is malware infection. On devices with administrator privileges (rooted or jailbroken), the chance of infection increases exponentially.
However, malware can also elevate privileges on its own. For example, ZNIU spyware uses the infamous Dirty COW vulnerability (CVE-2016-5195) to achieve this goal.
Recommendations for users
Smartphones can easily be lost or stolen. Even if the mobile operating system requires a password by default, some users still choose not to set a password. In this case, an attacker with physical access to the device can plug it into the computer and use special utilities to extract sensitive data from the device’s memory. For example, if the backup creations function is turned on in Android.
Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to extract application data from the backup, with root privileges, data can be removed even if the backup is disabled.