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Samsung has confirmed that they are working on a fix for a flaw that allows bypassing of the lock screen. The bug was posted to the internet today and shows a method for bypassing the lock screen, permanently, if you have enough time to download an app from the Play Store.
The steps to reproduce the bug are below:
- From the lock screen, hit the emergency call button.
- Dial a non-existent emergency services number - e.g. 0.
- Press the green dial icon.
- Dismiss the error message.
- Press the phone's back button.
- The app's screen will be briefly displayed.
- This is just about long enough to interact with the app.
- Using this, you can run and interact with any app / widget / settings menu.
- You can also use this to launch the dialler.
- From there, you can dial any phone number (one digit at a time) and place a phone call.
- With Google Play, you can search for apps using the voice interface.
- You can download apps from the app store which will disable the screen lock.
The bug is only present on Samsung's implementation of Android. It doesn't seem to affect the stock build. In a statement, Samsung said, "We are aware of this issue and will release a fix at the earliest possibility. Samsung considers user privacy and the security of user data its top priority."
Microsoft is currently dealing with some high-profile hackings that have compromised the Xbox Live accounts of former and current Microsoft employees. The attack apparently used a series of stringed social engineering tactics that collected social security numbers and other information necessary to gain access to the accounts.
A group of attackers are using several stringed social engineering techniques to compromise the accounts of a handful of high-profile Xbox Live accounts held by current and former Microsoft employees. We are actively working with law enforcement and other affected companies to disable this current method of attack and prevent its further use.
It's not clear what Microsoft will be able to do to prevent this from happening in the future. Microsoft needs a way to properly identify an account's owner, but they can't prevent third-parties from giving out that private information.
NATO has released a new document that lays down the law about cyber warfare for all of its members. The document details what is considered acceptable and what is thought of as out of bounds for state sponsored hacking.
Hospitals, nuclear power stations, dams and dykes are all on the do not touch list much like similar UN resolutions that do not allow its members to bomb certain targets. The new document does give the go-ahead to enact analog war against a country who is digitally attacking you.
"An international armed conflict exists whenever there are hostilities, which may include or be limited to cyber operations occurring between two states or more." The Guardian suggest that this may roll over into the so-called "hacktivist" community as well. This could leave its members venerable to physical attack if a country deems them a threat.
Samsung will be issuing a fix for a bug that allows unfettered access to a locked Galaxy S3's files "shortly". Meanwhile, Lookout, the company behind the popular antivirus app of the same name, has already produced a fix that is currently available through the Google Play Store.
Lookout describes how their app protects devices from being exploited through this particular bug: "When Lookout detects the emergency contact dialer has been backgrounded, we preemptively bring it back to the forefront so that the rest of the phone cannot be accessed."
Lookout says they expect Samsung to be released shortly, though an official statement from Samsung has not been given. Lookout highly recommends updating to the latest patch whenever Samsung makes it available. You can read Lookout's full blog post about the issue here. To read more about the bug in the Galaxy S III, you can see our other coverage.
China has said that it is willing to cooperate with the US in an effort to curb future cyber-attacks allegedly coming from within its borders. The country said it is ready to open a "constructive dialogue" to help put a stop to internet related attacks.
In a report released by the Associated Press, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry said that he condemned the recent attacks. "Cyberspace needs rules and cooperation, not wars. China is willing to have constructive dialogue and cooperation with the global community, including the United States."
The response from China comes after White House national security adviser Tom Donilon released a statement saying "China should take serious steps to investigate and put a stop to these activities," and asked the country to "engage with us in a constructive direct dialogue to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace."
Both the US and China have been working diligently to resolve their issues for quite a while now. After a visit by the Chinese Defense Ministry to the White House last year, then-US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said that it was "essential for our two nations to communicate effectively on a range of very challenging issues.. our goal is to establish a constructive relationship for the future." It appears that we may be well on the way to achieving that goal after today's news.
As part of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, the Windows developer will be pushing out a total of seven updates for Internet Explorer, Silverlight, and Office. Four of the patches are marked "critical", which means that they allow an attacker to run malware on the PC just by the person visiting a web site.
One of the critical patches is destined to fix a security hole present in Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 10 across XP to Windows 8. The critical Office patch is an interesting one. Woflgang Kandek, CTO at security firm Qualys notes:
"It is puzzling to see such a high rating for this software that typically requires opening of an infected file in order for the attack to work. It will be interesting to see the attack vector for this vulnerability that warrants the 'critical' rating.
Like with all security updates, we recommend that you install these updates as soon as Microsoft makes them available.
At the Pwn2Own hacking competition currently running in Vancouver, Canada, two security researchers from MWR Labs have managed to exploit Google Chrome. As a result of this impressive feat, they have been awarded a $100,000 prize. The exploit relied on a bug in Chrome as well as a bug in the kernel of Windows 7.
By visiting a malicious webpage, users could be susceptible to the exploit, even if they are running fully patched software. The exploit allowed the researchers to run code in the sandboxed renderer process. They then utilized a kernel exploit in Windows 7, which granted them elevated privileges.
MWR Labs will not release details on the exploit until the vendors have a chance to patch the vulnerabilities. Chrome is generally seen as the most secure and was picked because of its wide use and perceived security.
In one of those "why would anyone ever think to try something like this" moments, researchers have discovered that freezing encrypted Android devices will allow them to gain access to previously encrypted data. The encryption scheme used by Android has been a "nightmare" for law enforcement, though it looks like this won't be the case for much longer.
Tilo Muller, Michael Spreitzenbarth and Felix Freiling, researchers at Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University, placed Android phones into a freezer until they were below -10C. For some reason, this allowed them to quickly connect and disconnect the battery, placing the phone into a vulnerable mode.
Once the phone was in this state, they could load custom software onto the device. Known as Forensic Recovery of Scrambled Telephones, or FROST for short, the software allowed the data to be copied off to a computer for analysis. Luckily for consumers, the group of researchers are now attempting to figure out a way to prevent this hack from working.
Coming on the heels of a bug that allows partial access to the Galaxy Note II, a new bug has been discovered that provides full access to a device locked with a pin, password, or gesture. The bug was posted on the Full Disclosure mailing list by Sean McMillian and makes use of a variation on the original bug.
ZDNet verified the bug on their Galaxy S III running Android 4.1.2 and note that "the issue is very small and difficult to replicate at first." McMillian's instructions are as follows:
- On the code entry screen, press Emergency Call
- Press Emergency Contacts
- Press the Home button once
- Just after pressing the Home button, press the power button quickly
- If successful, pressing the power button again will bring you to the S3's home screen.
It seems like it's not just Apple that is having security issues stemming from the emergency call function. Samsung has not yet commented on the bug and there is not a current estimate for how long it will take for a fix to be released.
Apple has released an update to Java 6 that patches a zero-day vulnerability discovered a few days ago. Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion users should download the Java for OS X 2013-002 update so that they aren't susceptible to the zero-day exploit that has been used in the wild. Mac OS X 10.6 Update 14 can be used for Snow Leopard users.
Oddly enough, Oracle delivers updates for Java 7, while Apple is tasked with keeping Java 6 updated.