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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Create custom audits for Android devices. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it.

Posted July 18, 2012    Carter Jones

Have you ever wanted to root your Android device, so you could be like all the other cool kids on the block? If you did your research, you learned that it makes it easier for attackers to keep their malware on your device, if it were to be infected, through the use of a rootkit. Therefore, in the interest of security, you made the choice not to root your device. Well, that’s a good first step, but it won’t protect you from all rootkits.

Researchers have managed to find and exploit a vulnerability in the Launcher component of the Android framework. This varies from the normal type of rootkit that would typically exploit a component of the core operating system. In a demonstration video of their work, the researchers show how a UI redressing attack can be performed by hijacking the Android Launcher. A UI redressing attack (aka: clickjacking attack) is a way for attackers to get you to click on something that looks legitimate in nature, but is actually tricking you into performing some other action of the attacker’s choosing. In the case of this rootkit, the clickjacking technique can be used to hide malicious apps from the user, so that the user has no idea something nefarious is on their device.

It needs to be made clear that 1) this does not involve any rooting of the device, 2) no privilege escalation is taking place, 3) no modifications to userland or the kernel are made, and 4) no processes other than the Launcher are controlled. This makes it very different from certain types of malware that rely on a phone being rooted in order to take over the mobile device.

There’s your security, but now we’ll put it in context.

This is a technique that researchers have discovered. It was not reported as something observed in the wild. The researchers are “working on ways to protect against attacks like these” (we hope this means that they will be working directly with the Android framework developer team). Details of the how the researchers managed to hijack the Launcher are non-existent at this point in time, so malware authors have very little to work with.

To help you stay secure, we’ve built the ability to create custom audits for Android devices into Retina. Once further information becomes available about this Android vulnerability, you’ll be able to audit your Android devices, so you can defend against this vulnerability, helping to maintain a strong security posture for you and your organization.

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Additional articles

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PowerBroker for Mac: A Least-Privileged Apple a Day…

Posted July 27, 2015    Jason Silva

BeyondTrust PowerBroker for Mac reduces the risk of privilege misuse by enabling standard users on Mac OS X to perform administrative tasks successfully without entering elevated credentials.

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PrivilegedAccountManagement

On Demand Webinar – Now is the time for Privileged Account Management

Posted July 24, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

In this webinar, SANS Instructor and Founder of Voodoo Security, Dave Shackleford, will revisit several hacking and breach scenarios that involved privileged accounts, and use these as examples while discussing tools and tactics to get this problem under control once and for all.

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Privileged Account Management: The Time is Now

Posted July 22, 2015    Dave Shackleford

There’s plenty of problems we don’t have great options for in InfoSec today. Malware is a pain point that keeps evolving rapidly. 0-day exploits are tough to prepare for. Privileged account management? We got this. We know the root causes, we know how it manifests, we know how to get it under control effectively, and there are great technology solutions that are enterprise-class.

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