Security Holes Found in Android Phones

Security researchers have discovered a security hole in Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony, and other Android-based phones, leaving multiple users vulnerable to phishing attacks through text messaging.

The exploit takes advantage of the over-the-air (OTA) provisioning. Security researchers discovered that the industry standard of OTA provisioning, Open Mobile Alliance Client Provisioning (OMA CP), can be hacked into, allowing attackers to pose as network operators, sending false OMA CP messages to users.

Figure 1; Image from HelpNetSecurity.com

If hackers successfully gain access to the OTA, they can use OMA CP to send messages similar to the one above. These messages will ask the user to install new settings on applications. Upon installing, all traffic will then be redirected through a proxy server owned by the attacker, allowing them to read sensitive information.

Out of all Android devices affected, researchers agreed that Samsung is the most vulnerable to this attack. Due to the lack of authentication on received OMA CP messages, users only need to accept the CP to install the malicious applications on their phones.

Phones from Huawei and Sony do have a secondary defense against CP messages through the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). However, hackers can also obtain this relatively easily. One such way was to download a malicious app meant to read the IMSI off a user’s phone. Another way, which entirely bypasses the IMSI is if the attacker sends the user a text message asking them to accept and install a pin-protected OMA CP message. If the pin is entered, the malicious software will be installed on the phone, completely bypassing the IMSI.

If you are unsure if the message on your screen is from a trusted supplier, you should contact your service provider before continuing the installation. Small precautions like this can save you both time and energy in the future and prevent your sensitive information from being read by untrusted individuals.

If you are worried about the security of your devices, consider contacting Hammett Technologies! Our team of trained professionals will make sure all your connected devices remain secure and up to date, saving you the headache! If you would like to learn more about what we do, click here!