Security boffins slip past Google Bouncer

Powered by SC Magazine
 

New app store security checkpoint misses malicious app.

Researchers have slipped malware past the new Android app store security control, and mapped its environment.

Google revealed the Bouncer control in February as a means of scanning the Android market for malicious software, without requiring developers to go through an Apple-like application approval process.

Uploaded apps would be analysed for known malware and malicious behaviour via a sandbox on Google’s cloud infrastructure.

Bouncer would also evict developers known as repeat offenders.

But security boffins Jon Oberheide and Charlie Miller have demonstrated how malicious code could be obfuscated within an application to skirt Bouncer and be uploaded to the Google Play Store.

The demonstration, to be presented at the US SummerCon event this week, also mapped out and fingerprinted the Bouncer infrastructure environment after it ran dynamic analysis of the booby-trapped app and granted an interactive remote shell.

Oberheide and Miller obtained Bouncer’s kernel version, the guts of its filesystem, and data on emulated devices run within its environment.

“So this is just one technique to fingerprint the Bouncer environment, allowing a malicious app to appear benign when run within Bouncer, and yet still perform malicious activities when run on a real user’s device,” Oberheide said.

Last year, Android device activations grew 250 percent while app store downloads topped 11 billion. But the bypass wasn’t a death knell for Bouncer.

“While Bouncer may be unable to catch sophisticated malware from knowledgeable adversaries currently, we’re confident that Google will continue to improve and evolve its capabilities,” Oberheide said.

Android engineering cheif Hiroshi Lockheimer said of Bouncer that "no security approach is foolproof, and added scrutiny can often lead to important improvements."

"Our systems are getting better at detecting and eliminating malware every day, and we continue to invite the community to work with us to keep Android safe."

The researchers had advised Google of the bypass and were assisting the Android security team to develop a fix.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


Security boffins slip past Google Bouncer
 
 
 
Top Stories
Getting bang for your buck in the explosives factory
As a manufacturing industry CIO, Incitec Pivot’s Martin Janssen doesn’t have much money to spend on IT. But to him, that’s all part of the fun.
 
AGL restructure sees CIO depart
Owen Coppage to leave after ten years.
 
Inside Telstra's multi-faceted cloud strategy
An overview of its own cloud and deals with Cisco, VMware, IBM and NextDC.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Small business win in a budget with 'fair' savings: Abbott
Apr 17, 2015
Tony Abbott has reaffirmed that the government’s aim is “always to get taxes ...
Xero now includes an inventory function built-in
Mar 26, 2015
Xero has added inventory and other major new features to the latest release of its cloud ...
Apple reveals its new MacBook
Mar 13, 2015
Replacing the MacBook Air as Apple's thinnest laptop, the new MacBook comes packed with features.
Xero has released a new version of its app for the iPad
Mar 6, 2015
iPad-wielding Xero users can now take advantage of a new version of the iOS app for the cloud ...
Microsoft is offering Azure for Disaster Recovery to Australian SMBs
Feb 10, 2015
If you haven't talked to your IT provider about disaster recovery, it might be worth discussing ...
Latest Comments
Polls
Do you support the Government's data retention scheme?

   |   View results
Yes
  11%
 
No
  89%
TOTAL VOTES: 2210

Vote