Android users at risk over compromised digital vendor certificates
A number of digital certificates used by vendors such as Samsung, LG, and MediaTek have been discovered to be compromised in order to stamp approval on malicious Android apps, rendering them vulnerable after a major security leak allowed a trusted malware program to go berserk, affecting devices.
The new vulnerability, which allows a malicious attacker to gain system-level permissions on an affected device, was discovered and reported on Thursday by Łukasz Siewierski, a malware reverse engineer at Google, citing a Google Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative (APVI) report.
According to the report, these certificates are used to validate apps. Any other application signed with the same certificate can declare that it wishes to run with the same user id, granting it access to the Android operating system. In other words, if hackers exploit these certificates, they can be used to create apps that appear authentic.
Malware can gain elevated system access by using these certificates without any user interaction. Typically, Android malware must go out of its way to request additional permissions from users, such as access to accessibility services, which it then uses to extract data and information from other apps. Malware does not have to go through these hoops if it uses the same certificate as the root Android application. Malware may also masquerade as a trusted pre-installed app and appear as an update to users, making it even more difficult to detect that something is wrong.
Among the malicious Android app packages with are exploitable codes are; com.russian.signato.renewis, com.sledsdffsjkh.Search, com.android.power, com.management.propaganda, and com.android.power. com.sec.android.musicplayer, com.houla.quicken, com.attd.da, com.arlo.fappx, com.metasploit.stage, and com.vantage.ectronic.cornmuni.
Exploiting the compromised platform certificates of the aforementioned Android app packages would allow an attacker to create malware with extensive permissions without having to trick users into granting them, and then gain the highest level of privileges as the Android operating system, allowing it to harvest all types of sensitive information from a compromised device.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheHackerNews.