Will Verduzco · Mar 13, 2014 at 02:30 pm

Samsung Backdoor May Not Be as Wide Open as Initially Thought

Earlier today, we talked about how the Replicant team found a potential backdoor in Samsung’s proprietary radio software. As demonstrated in a proof-of-concept attack, this allowed certain baseband code to gain access to a device’s storage under a specific set of circumstances. But upon closer inspection, this backdoor is most likely not as bad as it was initially made out to be.

A few hours after posting our previous article on the alleged backdoor, a highly respected security expert who wishes to remain anonymous approached us, stating that the way in which the proof-of-concept attack was framed by the Replicant team was a bit misleading. Essentially, it boils down to the POC requiring a modified firmware with with security features disabled. Thus, if a user is running an updated version of the official firmware, this attack will not work. To that end, the Replicant team even states in their write-up that SELinux would considerably restrict the potential files that the modem can access, such as those on the /sdcard partition.

Now, another highly trusted security researcher (XDA Recognized Developer djrbliss) has gone on record with Ars, stating that there’s “virtually no evidence” that this is indeed a true backdoor, although his reasons are a bit different. There is absolutely no indication at this time that the baseband file access can be controlled remotely. Rather, this is only a “possibility,” since the baseband software is proprietary. Instead, it’s far more likely that this was only ever intended to write radio diagnostic files to the /efs/root directory, as that is is the radio user’s home directory.

In summary, we shouldn’t rush to replace our Samsung phones just yet. There is absolutely no evidence to state that this can be controlled remotely. And even if it were possible, using SELinux, which is set to Enforcing in stock firmware, would restrict the radio user’s access.


_________
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.
Eric Hulse · Jul 7, 2015 at 05:59 pm · no comments

T-Mobile Galaxy S6 Battery Woes

I've been using a T-Mobile Galaxy S6 since the device launched with T-mobile's service. However, over this past holiday weekend I knew I would be in an area without reliable T-Mobile service. So, I opened up T-Mobile's default "Device Unlock" app , pressed unlock, and placed my AT&T SIM card in the device. Everything seemed to be working fine: strong signal, great LTE, good voice calls - until day 3. On Sunday, my Galaxy S6 felt very hot to the touch and...

XDA NEWS
Brian Young · Jul 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm · 1 comment

Earthquake Early Warning in Your Pocket

Probably all of us reading this have a smartphone in our pocket. For many of us, the smartphone has become our primary method of reading and writing e-mails, messaging, and browsing the web. Though proclamations that "smartphones have replaced the personal computer" typically fall on deaf ears, the statements aren't without merit. Indeed, smartphones have "replaced"—or more accurately, "displaced"—PC's in several areas that they have traditionally been dominant. But how many of you look into your pocket, or on your desk, and...

XDA NEWS
Aamir Siddiqui · Jul 7, 2015 at 10:39 am · 1 comment

Sony: The OEM You Want To Save

In our recent Discuss article, we asked you readers on which OEM you would like to help. While the answers we received were varied, a lot of these responses and top comments stood out for helping one OEM: Sony. Some excerpts from our discussion are as below: And many more follow suit. Needless to say, many believe that Sony Mobile as a company is great and is worth saving. And all of these would be happy to hear that Sony will...

XDA NEWS
Share This