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
Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer
GE225 operators celebrate gold anniversary.
 
NSW Govt gets ready to throw out the floppy disks
[Opinion] Dominic Perrottet says its time for government to catch up.
 
iiNet facing new copyright battle with Hollywood
Fighting to protect customer details.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Do you direct debit customers? Read this
Oct 10, 2014
Authorities have been targeting direct debit practices with iiNet and Dodo receiving formal ...
Optus expands 4G coverage
Oct 10, 2014
If you rely on an Optus phone for work you might be interested to know that there are now 200 ...
Microsoft Office is now free for some charities
Oct 10, 2014
Microsoft has announced that eligible Australian non-profit organisations and charities can now ...
Vodafone lights up 4G in Adelaide
Oct 9, 2014
Live and work in Adelaide? Vodafone has switched on its 4G network in the city and suburbs.
Next year tradies will be able to take payments using ingogo
Oct 3, 2014
Ingogo is going to provide a card payment service for Xero users.
Latest Comments
Polls
In which area is your IT shop hiring the most staff?




   |   View results
IT security and risk
  26%
 
Sourcing and strategy
  12%
 
IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networking)
  22%
 
End user computing (desktops, mobiles, apps)
  15%
 
Software development
  26%
TOTAL VOTES: 333

Vote
Would your InfoSec team be prepared to share threat data with the Australian Government?

   |   View results
Yes
  57%
 
No
  43%
TOTAL VOTES: 138

Vote