An attack code, which could be used to exploit a number of different versions of Google’s Android OS, has been published.
The code exploits a flaw in the WebKit browser framework, a vulnerability that has previously been seen in Apple’s Safari browser.
Alert Logic security researcher M.J. Keith was responsible for making the code public last week, noting how it could be used to gain control over certain functions in the OS.
The researcher showed how visiting a website containing the malicious code on an Android 2.1 phone could allow him to run a simple command line shell in the OS, according to reports.
In turn, this would allow the hacker to compromise the OS, although it would not give them complete control as Android sections off its different components from one another.
However, an attacker could still access anything the browser reads.
At the time of publication, Google had not offered any comment on the security researcher’s findings.
While Android 2.2 remained unaffected by this particular attack, less than two-fifths of all Android users have that version.
According to official Google statistics, Android 2.1 is the most used version of the OS, with over 40 percent of users running it.
The code went public just days after a Coverity study showed various weaknesses in Android’s central kernel.
A total of 359 flaws were discovered, a quarter of which were ranked as high risk.
Commenting on the report, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Nick Jones said Android will never be truly secure as it lacks a central authority to keep it safe.
“Those managed by a single owner such as Apple, Windows Phone 7 and RIM are better able to ensure higher security,” Jones claimed in a blog.
“However even the best of platforms will have weaknesses.”