January 31, 2023

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Android has an embarrassing security issue that is hard to understand

Android has an embarrassing security issue that is hard to understand

Once again, Android runs the risk of being overtaken by apps with dangerous code, and this time it’s very dangerous.

Samsung and LG mobile phones are at risk

We wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Google Play Store can be bypassed, but the danger is there – it has happened many times before. Google says it has a number of security mechanisms in place, but there is never any guarantee that certain apps won’t work.

OEM partners immediately implemented mitigation measures as soon as the major bug was reported. End users will be protected by the security implemented by OEM partners. Google has implemented extensive malware detection in its Build Test Suite, which scans apps. Google Play Protect also detects malware. There is no indication that this malware exists or has ever been in the Google Play Store. As always, we recommend users to make sure they are running the latest Android version.

Android security team

This particular bug is dangerous because it deals with leaked keys, not just any security keys: these are of the “cryptographic signature key” type. It is connected to the Android system for the system to approve the installation or upgrade of apps. In other words: if the system is not secure, a dangerous application can overwrite (update) an already verified and installed application.

Samsung has not changed the key since 2016

Now it turns out that the keys of several Android manufacturers were leaked (LG and Mediatek were also affected), and that Samsung has been on the dark web ever since. 2016. And the hack against Samsung phones still works after all these years.

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It is not known why Samsung did not use a new key as this can be easily done using the Signature Scheme V3 APK.

“You authorize an application with both the new and the old keys and indicate that only the new key is supported for updates,” notes Ars Technica about the easy way to solve this problem. They point out that only apps, not OS updates, are affected by this.

However, there are major problems for hacked owners: