This Samsung Galaxy Backdoor Allows for Remote Read/Write Access

Posted Mar 13, 2014
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One of the prime disadvantages of an operating system being closed source over an opened source is that the user does not possess the ability to review the code running in the background. There is no telling what goes on at the back-end. If one is careless, an attacker could potentially cause a lot of trouble through a backdoor usually placed in a device through unethical means. More on that after the jump.

According to a guest post published by Paul Kocialkowski over at Free Software Foundation, he detailed the discovery of a backdoor that was implemented in a wide array Samsung Galaxy devices. Kocialkowski is a developer usually working on free and open versions of Android. He wrote that he had discovered a program – courtesy Samsung – which runs in the background, bound to the communications processor. This particular program allows the modem to delete, read and write files on the device’s storage remotely. This Samsung Galaxy backdoor allows for remote read/write access, with the dangerous ability to delete data on storage as well. It was further noted, that major Samsung Galaxy devices gave this program significant rights to carry out the aforementioned functions. He further explained how the access to storage is provided to the program even if the modem is isolated, which certainly is something to be concerned about.

There are always chances that the backdoor was placed accidentally, however it is believed otherwise. There is also the fact that whether it was an accident or not, the backdoor still exists in the Samsung Galaxy devices and is potentially a ticking time bomb. The good news is that a  patch has been published by Replicant which will replace the Samsung-RIL library. The full list of affected devices, backdoor and the patch can be viewed over at Replicant Wiki.

It is yet uncertain whether Samsung will give an official response to the discovery of this particular backdoor or not and, if so, whether they would come up with an official patch to fix the issue or not. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to hear what they have to say regarding this malice.

Source: FSF

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