It’s been reported in the news that the Starbuck’s payment app saves usernames, passwords and location data in plain text right on consumer’s smartphones. Any devious person with a little know-how can get access to this information and use it to get one caffeine fix after another ad infinitum.
Of course this is not good news. But it is more than that. This should be a wake-up call – not just for those of us who like to pay for coffee with our smartphones.
One of my friends recently received an alert from her sheriff’s office, warning her about something called Cryptolocker. The language in the alert was quite alarming, and she wanted my opinion.
I told her that Cryptolocker was indeed real and is the criminal’s monetization scheme-du-jour. While it is a real pain if you got nailed by it, basic security practices would keep you perfectly safe.
Free mobile apps often come chock full of ads. And it’s not just the free apps. A surprising number of paid apps come with ads as well. App developers typically link in one or more advertising network to monetize their otherwise inexpensive mobile apps.
Users are relatively tolerant of mobile app advertising. That is until a mobile ad network in a seemingly benign mobile app distributes malware or exfiltrates sensitive user information without the user’s knowledge or consent.
When speaking at conferences or to prospective customers about why there is a need to independently test an enterprise’s custom-made mobile apps, I begin by framing the problem. I explain that one of the primary issues concerning mobile apps is that they are developed by companies with a limited amount of experience as opposed to by large, well-known companies with a lengthy software development history.
There have been several reports this year indicating that many popular, free apps and a surprising number of the most popular paid apps – either Android or iOS – are not good at safeguarding sensitive information. From contacts to calendars, an amazingly high percentage of app developers don’t seem concerned with protecting your sensitive information.
Even so, there are apps that accidentally, spectacularly, and unexpectedly transmit your sensitive information. Take Tumblr (now part of Yahoo!) for example.
In 2013, most people understand that the acronym APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threat, but I’m coining a new one … AFT, which stands for Another… uh … Freaking Trojan, and I suggest that all malware now falls into one of these two categories.
Last week I blogged about the “Android Master Key” vulnerability. Not long after its discovery by Bluebox, the Chinese firm Android Security Squad found a similar Android Master Key vulnerability. Both vulnerabilities permit adversaries to circumvent the Android app signature verification process after modifying any app.
Researchers at Bluebox, a new mobile security company, recently found a serious vulnerability affecting almost every version of Android. Vulnerable Android versions include all recent versions as well as those dating back to version 1.6 (code name: Donut) that was released in September 2009.
Over the weekend, FaceBook disclosed that a bug in their code had accidentally leaked some six million email addresses and phone numbers over the course of about a year. While the majority of the comments on FaceBook’s Mea Culpa page indicate outrage and worry, in my opinion, no one should be in the least bit surprised.
By this, I’m not implying that FaceBook is unprofessional in how it codes its website, or that it is unconcerned about its users’ privacy. It’s simply a tough job, and humans make mistakes.