Android device users beware: New Linux Flaw – Hype or Hair Raising

Sections: Cellphones, Computers, Mobile, Security, Smartphones

Anyone with an Android phone should be warned, a new finding from the security company Perception Point, as well as Red Hat, there is a security flaw in flavors of Linux that could cause security issues for computers, servers and some/a majority of Android devices.  Oddly enough, Perception Point notes that this is not a new flaw and has actually be around since some time in 2012.  See their analysis report here.

Perception Point report snippet:

The Perception Point Research team has identified a 0-day local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Linux kernel. While the vulnerability has existed since 2012, our team discovered the vulnerability only recently, disclosed the details to the Kernel security team, and later developed a proof-of-concept exploit. As of the date of disclosure, this vulnerability has implications for approximately tens of millions of Linux PCs and servers, and 66 percent of all Android devices (phones/tablets). While neither us nor the Kernel security team have observed any exploit targeting this vulnerability in the wild, we recommend that security teams examine potentially affected devices and implement patches as soon as possible.  –source:

Google has produced a patch for this, as it seems they were caught off guard by the finding.  The fix is reported to take a few weeks to be sent around in updates, but Google feels that the flaw isn’t that big of an impact on a large number of devices.

The bigger issue, in my opinion, is that there are so many different flavors of the Linux kernel on so many Android devices, that this fix will be far reaching and very tough to get a handle on how the patch will work on the different end-point devices.

The newer Android 5.0 (coined Lollipop), has new security back-end features of SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) that account for such vulnerabilities and hacks as to where this software suite prevents access to apps and other items from accessing the device’s kernel.

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