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Information Security Researchers Discover Vulnerability in Android Gingerbread

Several security research reports have cautioned users against increased attack on Mobile phones and applications during this year.

Feb. 1, 2011 - PRLog -- Several security research reports have cautioned users against increased attack on Mobile phones and applications during this year. Recently, security researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) discovered vulnerability in Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The identified vulnerability in the latest version of the mobile operating system causes attackers to gain unauthorized access to files and documents on the microSD card (storage card) in the mobile phone. The vulnerability has been identified by a team of information security professionals  led by Xuxian Jiang, an assistant professor in the University’s computer science department.

The recently release Gingerbread version comes with improved features over the earlier version Froyo. The new version comes with features such an improved on-screen key board and better user interface. Gingerbread is a minor version and may be replaced with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) during the course of this year. Usually, software developers use ethical hacking  to ascertain security flaws. In this case, researchers identified the vulnerability by testing a Nexus S device installed with Gingerbread. The researchers launched attacks on the operating system through a proof-of-concept exploit code.

Fortunately, the purpose of the exploit was to alert developers on the security flaw in the operating system. Attackers may exploit the vulnerability by alluring users to click a fake and malicious link. When unsuspecting users click on the link, the malicious code is executed on their phones. By exploiting the vulnerability attackers may acquire list of applications installed on the mobile device. The executed malicious code may allow attackers to open, view and upload files, photos, voicemails and applications stored in the microSD card partitions to a remote server. Therefore, the attack poses information security  risk for users of Nexus S. The extracted information may be misused by the attackers to indulge in identity theft, fraud, blackmail and other forms of cybercrime.

Google, the vendor of product has not yet issued any patch for the vulnerability. Earlier patches were issued for similar vulnerabilities in the previous versions of Android. The current vulnerability may be fixed in the newer versions or during the release of the next major version Honeycomb. Security professionals have advised users of Nexus S to disable Javascript or install a different web browser such as firefox to safeguard sensitive personal information.  

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Email:  iclass@eccouncil.org
Tel:  505-341-3228

EC-Council is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in cybersecurity and e-commerce skills. It is the owner and developer of 16 security certifications, including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) and EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)/License Penetration Tester (LPT). Its certificate programs are offered in over 60 countries around the world.

EC-Council has trained over 80,000 individuals and certified more than 30,000 members, through more than 450 training partners globally. These certifications are recognized worldwide and have received endorsements from various government agencies including the U.S. federal government via the Montgomery GI Bill, Department of Defense via DoD 8570.01-M, National Security Agency (NSA) and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS). EC-Council also operates EC-Council University and the global series of Hacker Halted security conferences.

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iClass is EC- Council's online training delivery platform. Students can attend live, or recorded training sessions for courses such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) or Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI).

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Location:Albuquerque - New Mexico - United States
Industry:Computer security
Tags:Android 2.3, Android Gingerbread, Nexus S, Information Security, Microsd Card, Storage Card, Mobile Phone, Mobile Applications
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