The Google Android mobile operating system is vulnerable to a new flaw that allows criminals to hijack the Android Package File (APK) and replace it with apps the criminals choose. Hackers are able to quietly gain unlimited permissions, and trick users into possibly installing malware instead of a third-party app.
The Palo Alto Networks security firm posted details of the issue, which affects almost half of all current Android users - and can be used to steal user data, distribute malware, and compromise smartphones and tablets.
"This Android vulnerability means users who think they're accessing legitimate applications with approved permissions may instead be exposed to data theft and malware," said Ryan Olson, Intelligence Director of Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 research wing. "We urge users to take advantage of the diagnostic application provided by Palo Alto Networks to check their devices, and we thank Google, Samsung and Amazon for their cooperation and attention."