Will Verduzco · Mar 13, 2014 at 06:00 am

Replicant Devs Discover Backdoor in Samsung Android Devices

You may recall that about five months ago, we touched upon a study demonstrating how OEM modifications are the primary cause for most “Android” security issues. Unfortunately, we offer yet another example of OEM-caused security issues—but this time, it’s not because of an OEM skin or bloatware. Rather, this is a potential vulnerability at a far deeper level: proprietary modem software.

The OEM in question is none other than Samsung, the Android ecosystem’s largest and most successful device manufacturer, and the backdoor itself comes as proprietary radio software. This software is responsible for communicating with the modem hardware, and is capable of implementing RFS commands. These RFS commands are then able to perform I/O operations on the device’s storage.

No big deal, right? I’ll just load CyanogenMod and be done with it. Wrong.

Since the cause is a proprietary radio software, changing to an aftermarket ROM will not solve anything, so long as the ROM uses Samsung’s proprietary blobs. In fact, the Replicant team used Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III devices running CM10.1 to demonstrate how this was ROM-agnostic.

Currently the list of known affected devices includes the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note II, but it’s highly likely that many other Samsung devices are vulnerable. Furthermore, this also seems to affect the Samsung-built Google Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, as this is a back door at the radio software level, rather than as a part of an OEM skin. Whatsmore, on certain devices, this incriminated process runs as root.

While it is entirely possible that there is a legitimate reason for this backdoor, it’s hard to envision a scenario where one would be necessary. As such, it would be great to hear Samsung’s official statement on the matter. Until then, perhaps it would be a good idea to look into fully open source projects like Replicant, or at the very least, building an aftermarket kernel capable of blocking (and logging) RFS command requests.

You can learn more by heading over to the source link below.

[Source: Replicant Project | Thanks to Ruelle for the tip!]


_________
Want something on the XDA Portal? Send us a tip!

Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
Aamir Siddiqui · Apr 1, 2015 at 04:30 am · no comments

OnePlus DR-1 Quadcopter Drone Available for Purchase

OnePlus has been teasing a new product for a while now, hailing it as a game-changer which isn't a tablet or a smartwatch. While speculations were rife about what this game-changing device could be, the company did confirm that the product was indeed a drone in their recent AMA. A tweet and vine from OnePlus shed some more light on this product, which was confirmed to be named as DR-1 (dr-one, get it?) and was to reach stores "next month". In a...

XDA NEWS
Emil Kako · Mar 31, 2015 at 06:55 pm · 3 comments

What’s Your Biggest Reason for Not Owning an iPhone?

With XDA being a community of Android enthusiasts, it is not uncommon to see lots of bashing on Apple's iPhone here. There are different reasons for the hate, but we'd like to hear your number one reason for not going with the iPhone. Let us know your thoughts below!

DISCUSS
Mario Tomás Serrafero · Mar 31, 2015 at 11:55 am · 3 comments

Xiaomi Finally Releases Kernel Sources

If you are familiar with Xiaomi, you might have heard that they are not the most compliant when it comes to the General Public License that makes the core of Android open to us. The terms of the GPLv2 state that since the Android kernel is based on the Linux kernel, which is licensed under GPL,v2 Android has to be open-source for everyone to study or modify, and those that modify the Android kernel have to make their sources immediately available for...

XDA NEWS
Share This