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With just days left before its final hurrah for the year, OnePlus seems to be involved yet again in a controversy surrounding privacy and security. No, it is not a rehash of last months data collection scandal. This one is potentially more harmful, especially since OnePlus itself may be unaware of its existence until now. The startup apparently left a diagnostic app preinstalled on its smartphones since the OnePlus 3 that, with just some simple nudging, can be used to gain root access to the device, with or without the users knowledge. To be fair to OnePlus, the app in question is not even made by the company. It is, instead, Qualcomms EngineerMode, which the chip maker provides OEMs to test their processors on devices. As one can imagine, it is not meant for consumers use and OnePlus fault is that it did not remove the app before it shipped the OnePlus phones. As a diagnostic app, EngineerMode has a few tricks to gain entry into parts of the file system and OS functionality unavailable to most apps. Curiously, it had the power to run ADB, the Android Debug Bridge tool, as root, which would then allow it to practically do anything. And while access to that is blocked by a password, it did not take too long for skilled developers to figure that out. This means that Qualcomms EngineerMode app, which comes pre-installed in all OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 5 phones running the default OxygenOS, acts as a backdoor that could let anyone gain root access or root the phone fully. Twitter user fs0c131y, who discovered the app, intends to release a proof-of-concept app that will do just that. On the one hand, it does mean that it will be dead simple to root those three OnePlus phones without even having to unlock the bootloader. On the other hand, it is a security nightmare waiting to happen, and users are better off having this closed quickly and using tried and testing, not to mention safer, rooting methods instead.
The Google Play Store is unintentionally distributing a particular form of Android banking malware for the third time this year. BankBot first appeared in the official Android marketplace in April this year, was removed, and then was discovered to be have returned in September before being removed again. Now BankBot has appeared in the Google Play store yet again, having somehow bypassed the application vetting and security protocols for a third time. BankBot is designed to steal banking credentials and payment information. It tricks users into handing over their bank details by presenting an overlay window which looks identical to a banks app login page. The malware is capable of identifying a variety of financial and retail mobile apps on the infected devices and tailors the phishing attack to display a fake version of the banking app the victim uses, if the target bank is recognized by the malware.
You would think that a fake app, especially one that is as popular as WhatsApp, would find it difficult to get passed the safety layers that Google has in place for apps that aim to be listed on the Play Store. But developers have long been able to get malicious apps hosted on the Play Store despite all of its attempts to rid itself of the problem. It does not help its case when someone gets a fake WhatsApp listed, and not only was the app listed, it was also downloaded by over one million unsuspecting users. The app was called Update WhatsApp Messenger, and the apps developer pretended to be the official Facebook-owned service with the developer title WhatsApp Inc. That is the very same title that the real WhatsApp uses on the Play Store.
Researchers have found that security cameras using an open-source code called gSOAP could be easily hacked and that attackers can send commands remotely. This allowed the researchers at Senrio, a security firm focused on the internet of things, to take over a video feed, pause the recording and turn the camera off. Senrio was able to take full control of the hacked cameras, the company said. Researchers are naming the zero-day exploit Devils Ivy, because, like the plant, it is hard to kill and it spreads quickly. The company said Tuesday that it discovered the vulnerability while researching Axis security cameras, one of the largest makers of connected cameras. Axis provides surveillance globally, including for every security camera at the Los Angeles airport.
Ten years ago, MySpace was one of the hottest sites on the Internet. In the U.S., MySpace was pulling in more than 72 million unique visitors every month. Facebook lagged way behind at just 23 million. Just four years later things had taken a dramatic turn. Facebook more than doubled, nearly reaching 160 million. MySpace traffic had dropped by nearly 50%. Users had moved on to the next big thing and they left millions of MySpace accounts sitting idle as they spent more and more of their time on Facebook. Fast forward to this year, and all those idle MySpace accounts had become easy targets for hackers.
Microsoft has confirmed that a significant chunk of its source code for Windows 10 was posted to a repository called BetaArchive. The exact size of the leak has been disputed, but the data reportedly comes from the Shared Source Kit that Microsoft distributes to trusted partners. Confirmed by Microsoft on Friday night, the leak contains source code to the base Windows 10 hardware drivers plus Redmonds PnP code, its USB and Wi-Fi stacks, its storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code. With that information, a hacker can hunt for vulnerabilities within some of the most trusted levels of the operating system. The code also reportedly contains the private debugging symbols that are normally stripped from public releases. These symbols give programmers extra information about which functions and data a piece of code is calling.