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Hacking Experts Demonstrate Android OS Vulnerabilities

Android phones have always been easy targets for hackers as the OS is available for everyone, legally. Since it is open for everyone, hackers can fork it, analyze it and design malicious software that can do a variety of functions like relay your activities, record usage data, track using the GPS on your phone, etc. Security experts have always been warning Android users to be more careful and circumspect while using their smartphones as the threat has always been there and you can never predict when the attack might happen.

However, Android users have been using their phones without too much of a cause for concern and till date, it is still the most widely used operating system. However, if Google does not take steps to identify the security concerns and fix them, people will start to switch to the Android’s biggest competitor, the iPhone (iOS).

Black Hat Hacking Conference Stages Android Flaws Display by Experts

The Black Hat Hacking Conference brought together security experts from the top leading companies and around the world to discuss about the latest security threats that we are subjected to. It was here that some of the experts highlighted the flaws in Android devices, which will allow hackers to  plant malicious software into the phones of unsuspecting users. Although Google declined to comment on the apparent flaw in its product, Sean Schulte from Trustwave’s Spider Labs said that even though Google is trying its best to secure Android from hackers, the hackers are always a step ahead of Google.

‘I can take over your phone’ – Charlie Miller

Charlie Miller, Accuvant researcher, was the star of the show in demonstrating the weaknesses of the Android operating system. He made use of the latest advancement on the Android phone, the Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, to deliver potentially harmful code into an Android phone. He boldly claimed: ‘I can take over your phone’, and started the demonstration.

NFC Chip Used as the Gateway for Entrance

The technology used in NFC allows users to receive and transmit data if both the receiver and transmitter are within the threshold range of each other. It was primarily intended for users to transmit music and photos with friends and family, make payments using the eWallet feature, etc. However, Miller found another way of using the same technology.

He said that he has devised a way in which a gadget can be manufactured, which will allow transfer transfer of potentially dangerous files into the phone. The device will be approximately the size of a postage stamp and can be stuck at any place which is inconspicuous. If a user who has a phone with NFC capability walks past that device, then the device can transfer virus code without the user even getting to know about it. There is no way in which an Android  user can be protected against these kinds of transfers.

Flaw in Google Chrome

Another malicious code was displayed by  Gerog Wicherski from CrowdStrike, which could gain access through the popular browser Google Chrome. This virus takes advantage of a security issue in the Google Chrome browser for Android mobile and enters the device. But Google had noted this flaw and had released an update which fixed it. However, the update had not been actively pushed out to the users. This means that not all users have applied this update patch and the ones who have not done it are still vulnerable.

Android users who still feel that stop cookies/tracking online option will secure them against online trackers should think better. There are threats lurking which you cannot even comprehend. Be careful while using your Android smartphones to ensure that your phone is safe from these potential threats.

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