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12Oct/150

How to protect your phone from Stagefright?

Posted by Ish

A few weeks ago, Logan and some fellow geeks had a video podcast about Stagefright; the much feared Android vulnerabilities. News articles around the web have dubbed Stagefright as having the possibility to compromise millions of Android powered handsets. In fact, at the time of writing this blog post many mobile phone manufacturers haven’t yet released updates to fix Stagefright and other reported bugs.

The Stagefright vulnerability was detected and reported by Joshua Drake, the VP of Platform Research and Exploitation and an expert at Zimperium zLabs. To verify if a mobile phone is vulnerable to Stagefright, one may use the Stagefright Detector app by Zimperium INC.

stagefright-vulnerabilities

What is Stagefright?

Stagefright is a group of ‘bugs’ that have been identified and are potentially exploitable in the Android operating system. More information about these vulnerabilities are published under the following CVEs at cve.mitre.org:

CVE-2015-1538
CVE-2015-1539
CVE-2015-3824
CVE-2015-3826
CVE-2015-3827
CVE-2015-3828
CVE-2015-3829
CVE-2015-3864

How does Stagefright work?

The attack happens by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). An attacker can include a piece of malicious code in a video and send the same through MMS. Most handsets have the “auto-retrieve” feature enabled. Therefore, the code gets executed on the phone even if the phone’s owner does not open the message. This happens during the auto-retrieval of the message.

Depending on what sort of code is run, an attacker may get the ability to control the phone, execute commands, copy/delete files, trigger the camera at will etc.

How to protect your phone from Stagefright?

The best protection would come through security patches released by the phone manufacturer. Alas, until that happens, one is left with a vulnerable phone. Therefore, to mitigate a Stagefright attack, one could disable the “auto-retrieve” feature. To do so, navigate to:

Messages > Settings > Multimedia Message (MMS)

Thereby, disable the “auto-retrieve” feature.

stagefright-mms-auto-retrieve

However, this will only “mitigate” the attack. The malicious code does not get executed through auto-retrieval, but it will execute if the message is opened by someone.

To enforce an added security, one may disable the MMS functionality since it is not much a messaging tool used nowadays. To do so, go to:

Settings > Wireless & Networks > More > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names

You should normally find two APNs, one for SMS and one for MMS. I am subscribed to Orange Mauritius and the MMS APN is listed as “MMS Orange”. Once you have identified the correct APN, tap it and scroll down to the “APN enable/disable” option. That’s it. You may disable the MMS APN which will prevent your phone from both sending and receiving MMS.

mms-apn-disable

The post How to protect your phone from Stagefright? appeared first on HACKLOG.

12Oct/150

How to protect your phone from Stagefright?

Posted by Ish

A few weeks ago, Logan and some fellow geeks had a video podcast about Stagefright; the much feared Android vulnerabilities. News articles around the web have dubbed Stagefright as having the possibility to compromise millions of Android powered handsets. In fact, at the time of writing this blog post many mobile phone manufacturers haven’t yet released updates to fix Stagefright and other reported bugs.

The Stagefright vulnerability was detected and reported by Joshua Drake, the VP of Platform Research and Exploitation and an expert at Zimperium zLabs. To verify if a mobile phone is vulnerable to Stagefright, one may use the Stagefright Detector app by Zimperium INC.

stagefright-vulnerabilities

What is Stagefright?

Stagefright is a group of ‘bugs’ that have been identified and are potentially exploitable in the Android operating system. More information about these vulnerabilities are published under the following CVEs at cve.mitre.org:

CVE-2015-1538
CVE-2015-1539
CVE-2015-3824
CVE-2015-3826
CVE-2015-3827
CVE-2015-3828
CVE-2015-3829
CVE-2015-3864

How does Stagefright work?

The attack happens by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). An attacker can include a piece of malicious code in a video and send the same through MMS. Most handsets have the “auto-retrieve” feature enabled. Therefore, the code gets executed on the phone even if the phone’s owner does not open the message. This happens during the auto-retrieval of the message.

Depending on what sort of code is run, an attacker may get the ability to control the phone, execute commands, copy/delete files, trigger the camera at will etc.

How to protect your phone from Stagefright?

The best protection would come through security patches released by the phone manufacturer. Alas, until that happens, one is left with a vulnerable phone. Therefore, to mitigate a Stagefright attack, one could disable the “auto-retrieve” feature. To do so, navigate to:

Messages > Settings > Multimedia Message (MMS)

Thereby, disable the “auto-retrieve” feature.

stagefright-mms-auto-retrieve

However, this will only “mitigate” the attack. The malicious code does not get executed through auto-retrieval, but it will execute if the message is opened by someone.

To enforce an added security, one may disable the MMS functionality since it is not much a messaging tool used nowadays. To do so, go to:

Settings > Wireless & Networks > More > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names

You should normally find two APNs, one for SMS and one for MMS. I am subscribed to Orange Mauritius and the MMS APN is listed as “MMS Orange”. Once you have identified the correct APN, tap it and scroll down to the “APN enable/disable” option. That’s it. You may disable the MMS APN which will prevent your phone from both sending and receiving MMS.

mms-apn-disable

The post How to protect your phone from Stagefright? appeared first on HACKLOG.

19Jun/150

Karbonn Sparkle V & Android One

Posted by logan

Android One

Android One is a label that targets emerging markets. It specifies the minimum hardware requirements that a smartphone must have to be supported for 2 years by Google. This is one of the major opportunities for us in Mauritius. Some of you may think that it's too good to be true, but it exists, as I got myself an Android One phone !

Karbonn Sparkle V

I bought an android-one certified phone from an Indian Manufacturer Karbonn. Mine is the Karbonn Sparkle V. When I got it, It was still on Android 4.4. As soon as I configured the wifi, It offered the possibility to be updated to Android 5.0 . Many high end phones are still shipping with Android 4.4 today without any updates to Android 5.0. sparkle


  • Display size: 4.5 inches
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
  • Internal memory : 2GB
  • GPU: Mali-400MP2
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Camera (back): 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Camera (front): 2MP
  • GSM: 2G, 3G, 4G



User experience

Yesterday night, I updated to Android 5.1.1. UX-wise, the phone is very responsive, and snappy. My only complaint would be the lack of internal storage space. I think that 4GB would have been better. Another version of the Sparkle is currently brewing. I hope that Google bumps the hardware specs for the next Android One label. The price is very competitive: Rs 5700-5900 depending on where you buy it. Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase, and I definitely plan to buy another Android One phone at the end of this year.


Android One firmware

firmware

It is worth pointing out that Google offers 2 years of firmware update support. This is fantastic, as I get the equivalent of a Google Nexus phone, at a much more reasonable price. This is the major win for the Android One phones. Unlike manufacturers that tend to ignore firmware updates after 6 month, Google makes a smart move here.




--Logan

Filed under: android No Comments
19Jun/150

Android One camera issue

Posted by logan

Android One camera freeze

wedding

While attending a wedding today, I wanted to use my camera to record videos. When I switched to video mode, The application froze. Android reported that it was not able to connect to the camera.

Dark Powers of Linux to the rescue

Since Android was running a Linux kernel, I knew from experience that this was very likely a device driver module. Of course, since I did not have full access to the android kernel message log, I knew that it was based on my instinct :)

I still wanted to record the speeches about the responsibilities of Marriage from the gentleman who took his time to lecture the newly wed couple. So, I knew that I had to find a way to reset the camera. My idea was since I had switched to video mode before it froze, it probably remained in that state. I quickly killed the application, and reloaded it . Unsurpringly, it started directly in recording mode. I just had to click on record, and it did the trick.

My theory is that switching back and forth from camera to photo mode causes the driver to hang up with the Android kernel. Since my phone is supported by Google, I sent a report to them on the phone itself, including how to reproduce it :)

Google Android One rocks

Thanks to the support from Google, I can send bug reports to them, as the phone is supported for 2 years. Unlike other phone manufacturers, it's much better in my humble opinion.



--Logan

Filed under: android No Comments