The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

TAG | android

Blu phone

Security firm Kryptowire discovered that at least hundreds of thousands of Android phones in the US are configured to automatically send all text messages, call logs, location information, contact lists and more to servers in China every 72 hours. This is all invisible to the end user. (more…)

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When anything big happens on the Internet, the criminals and snoops are not far behind. This time the event is Pokemon Go and there are all kinds of different threats developing in its wake from malware to tracking to physical danger. I you are not familiar with this game yet just look around next time you step outside, it is everywhere.

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Standard-Profile-Picture.jpgIn episode 20 of our podcast for May I talk about:

  • The need to target your privacy efforts
  • Why your secrets may not be safe with secrecy apps
  • The possibility of more light shining on National Security Letters
  • Conflicted feelings about censorship in the Russian government
  • Google and the right to be forgotten
  • What you need to do to deal with all these password breaches
  • A demonstration of a stealthy camera snooping app for Android
  • and a quick announcement about Anonymizer

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May/14

29

Is your Android watching you?

Android-phone-with-android-guy.jpgYour smartphone’s camera might be spying on you

Researcher Syzmon Sidor has created an app that will stealthily activate the camera on an Android phone. The trick is bypassing the requirement in Android to have a preview window open any time the camera is active. Syzmon’s solution was to make the preview window only a single pixel.

From there, one can use the typical methods to hide the application and have it run in the background. Of course, the attacker still needs to get the app on the phone. Hiding this functionality in some useful app on the Android app store is probably the most likely course.

This would be a good argument for keeping your phone in your pocket or purse, rather than sitting on a table with an interesting view.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Standard Profile PictureThis is episode 14 of the Privacy Blog Podcast for November,2013.
In this episode I talk about:
How your phone might be tracked, even if it is off
The hidden second operating system in your phone
Advertising privacy settings in Android KitKat
How Google is using your profile in caller ID
and the lengths to which Obama has to go to avoid surveillance when traveling.

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Infosec Institute published an article showing in detail how application signing on Android devices can be defeated.

This trick allows the attacker to modify a signed application without causing the application to fail its signature check.

The attack works by exploiting a flaw in the way signed files in the .apk zip file are installed and verified. Most zip tools don’t allow duplicate file names, but the zip standard does support it. The problem is that, when confronted by such a situation the signature verification system and the installer do different things.

The signature verifier checks the first copy of a duplicated file, but the installer actually installs the last one.

So, if the first version of a file in the archive is the real one, then the package will check as valid, but then your evil second version actually gets installed and run.

This is another example of vulnerabilities hiding in places you least expect.

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In the March episode of The Privacy Blog Podcast, I’ll run down some of the major privacy news events of the last month. Learn how Facebook “Likes” can paint an extremely detailed and eerie picture of your real-life character traits. I’ll provide my take on Google’s Street View Wi-Fi sniffing controversy along with how “Do Not Track” flags are affecting the everyday Internet user. We’ll then touch on the implementation of the “Six Strikes” copyright alert system that was recently adopted by all five major ISP providers.

Stay tuned until the end of the episode to hear about Anonymizer’s exciting new beta program for Android and iOS devices. Thanks for listening!

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