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New ‘Mazar’ Android malware spreads via SMS, tricks users into granting a malicious app full permissions


Danish security firm Heimdal has detected a nasty piece of malware that spreads via SMS and tricks users into downloading a malicious app. The text message containing the download link has already been sent to 100,000 phones in Denmark, though common sense security practices should keep users safe.


How to check & protect against the “worst Android vulnerability” ever, Stagefright


When mobile security researchers recently discovered what they described as the “worst Android vulnerability in the mobile OS history,” there appeared little you could do about it beyond waiting for your carrier or manufacturer to push Google’s fix. The exploit could auto-run as soon as you received an MMS designed to trigger it, whether or not you opened the message.

The same researchers have now created an app that allows you to check whether or not your devices has been patched against Stagefright, together with a step you can take to prevent the exploit from running automatically …  Expand

“Worst Android vulnerability in the mobile OS history” affects almost every Android phone, say researchers


Mobile security researchers at Zimperium say that they have discovered the “worst Android vulnerability in the mobile OS history” – and it can infect your smartphone simply by receiving an MMS message. Unlike most malware, it is not necessary to open the message in order for your phone to be compromised, reports NPR.

“This happens even before the sound that you’ve received a message has even occurred,” says Joshua Drake, security researcher with Zimperium and co-author of Android Hacker’s Handbook. “That’s what makes it so dangerous. [It] could be absolutely silent. You may not even see anything.”

Once the MMS has been received, it activates code which gives the attacker complete control of your Android device – everything from copying data to taking over the microphone and camera …  Expand

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Google patches Android to block application signature vulnerability


Google has issued a patch to handset manufacturers to block a security hole that could, in theory, allow almost any Android application to be turned into malware, reports ZDNet.

It doesn’t get much scarier than this. Bluebox Security claimed to have discovered a vulnerability in Android’s security model that could allow attackers to convert 99 percent of all applications into Trojan malware. Google has told ZDNet that the hole has been patched and that it has been released to original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s.

Handset and tablet owners will have to rely on the manufacturer to push the patch to their device, but the vulnerability isn’t as scary as it sounds. While it would in principle allow an attacker to change almost any application to malware without Android detecting the change, Google reports that there is no evidence of the exploit having actually been used.

“We have not seen any evidence of exploitation in Google Play or other app stores via our security scanning tools. Google Play scans for this issue – and Verify Apps provides protection for Android users who download apps to their devices outside of Play,” said Gina Scigliano, Google’s Android Communications Manager.

Via Techmeme

Lack of carrier Android updates puts user privacy at risk, says ACLU


The failure of the four main US carriers – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile – to issue updates and patches to the Android handsets they sell are leaving users vulnerable to hacking attacks, says the American Civil Liberties Union (via ars technica).

Civil liberties advocates have asked the US Federal Trade Commission to take action against the nation’s four major wireless carriers for selling millions of Android smartphones that never, or only rarely, receive updates to patch dangerous security vulnerabilities … Expand