Last week, a fake iOS App Store server went live with simple instructions for how to circumvent paying for in-app purchases (such as bonus levels in games) and unlock them for free. Most apps were vulnerable to being duped into believing the user had already paid for their content. Many people willing to engage in software piracy eagerly followed the steps and found that they worked, but there was a lot of confusion about how it could possibly work and whether it was safe.
The particular person who published the instructions added a note to remember not to type in …
In the rush to play with new online services – which, admittedly, are often awesome – it’s easy to forget that anyone with fifteen dollars in their pocket can rent a server to store your personal data in whatever haphazard way they want. It was only …
[UPDATE! April 15: Pandora removes all advertising libraries from its Android and iPhone apps!]
The blog post we made earlier this week entitled, Mobile Apps Invading Your Privacy, gives detail around the information being requested by the advertisement libraries embedded inside a popular online radio application. There have been a number of great posts and comments that got us thinking more about the issues and the types of data being requested.
First off we want to thank some people who commented about the Pandora application not having permission to actually access the GPS on the device. Below are the …
[April 8: We've added some more information in a follow-up post]
An article in the Wall Street Journal, dated April 5, 2011, disclosed that Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating numerous smart phone application manufacturers for allegedly, illegally obtaining and distributing personal private information to third party advertisement groups. The allegations state that mobile applications are gathering data such as GPS location, device identifiers, gender, and even user age without proper notice or authorization from the end user. The Journal tested 101 applications and found that 56 of them transmitted the device unique identifier off the device, while …
I’ve been focused on conducting research into the mobile spyware arena these last few months and the results have been very interesting. As I’m sure you are aware, I released a fully functional piece of Blackberry Spyware called txsBBSpy at the Shmoocon security conference in February 2010 and have done a number of interviews and podcasts on the topic. While my research is interesting, other high profile attacks just this week could really make this type of spyware/trojan a lot more dangerous.
At CanSecWest security conference this week, iPhone, Firefox, Safari, and other mobile operating systems and browsers were …
There have been a lot of great articles written in the wake of my presentation on Mobile Spyware at Shmoocon 2010. Many of them show wonderful insight into the problems that mobile carriers and owners of the mobile applications stores are facing. However, for every handful of great articles, we occasionally come across a technical expert that presents a different viewpoint. Usually it’s best to let the articles stand on their own merit and let the readers decide for themselves, but in this instance I think it might be best to use a recent article to demonstrate how …
Some of the media coverage to date has described Tyler Shields’ proof-of-concept spyware as a “BlackBerry hack”, much to our chagrin. In this blog post, we’d like to clarify some of the misconceptions that have surfaced both in the media and in the BlackBerry user community. Feel free to post additional questions in the comments section and we’ll do our best to respond.
Q: This isn’t a real hack, is it? Tyler’s program is similar to many applications already on the market.
We’ve tried to make it clear from the beginning that txsBBSpy is a demonstration of public, documented …
[UPDATE, 2/10/2010: We've written a follow-up blog post to address some of the questions and misconceptions we've been seeing.]
Tyler Shields gave a presentation earlier today at ShmooCon 2010 on the threats of mobile spyware, particularly as it relates to data privacy. Smart phones and mobile applications have grown tremendously popular over the past couple of years, and it seemed like an appropriate time to raise awareness of what these applications are capable of.
Our goal was to demonstrate how BlackBerry applications can access and leak sensitive information, using only RIM-provided APIs and no trickery or …
Neil MacDonald at Gartner asks the question, “Why Don’t Mobile Application Stores Require Security Testing?”
I couldn’t agree more that we may be missing an opportunity to bring whitelisting to these new important mobile platforms. We need to leave the “detect and revoke” mentality of the PC world behind as we move to new platforms. Attackers are able to game the PC antivirus model by continuously flooding the software ecosystem with new unknown malware. The attackers will win in the mobile world too if we don’t change it. The mobile app store is a form of whitelisting that …
Christien Rioux, Veracode co-founder and chief scientist, recently gave a webinar on mobile app security. He covers the strengths and weaknesses of 3 popular mobile application platforms: Windows Mobile, RIM Blackberry, and Google Android. Veracode recently announced our capability to scan Windows Mobile applications for vulnerabilities and malicious code. Blackberry and Android support will be coming in the next few months.
Watch the webinar:
Veracode Security Solutions
IBM Rational AppScan
Security Threat …
Yesterday it was reported by various media outlets that a recent BlackBerry software update from Etisalat (a UAE-based carrier) contained spyware that would intercept emails and text messages and send copies to a central Etisalat server. We decided to take a look to find out more.
We’re not sure why the software was delivered in both .jar and .cod form. The .cod file is a RIM proprietary format that contains the compiled Java classes along with a signature. Therefore it’s not even necessary to send the .jar, but they did, completely unobfuscated. Arrogance or incompetence? Here’s what’s …