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Android Encryption Security

VPN Encryption Vulnerability On Android 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the avoid-those-malicious-apps dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cyber security labs at Ben Gurion University have uncovered a network vulnerability on Android devices which has serious implications for users of VPNs. This vulnerability enables malicious apps to bypass active VPN configuration (no root permissions required) and redirect secure data communications to a different network address. These communications are captured in clear text (no encryption), leaving the information completely exposed. This redirection can take place while leaving the user completely oblivious, believing the data is encrypted and secure."
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VPN Encryption Vulnerability On Android

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  • by Jason Teplitz (3504757) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @11:57AM (#45998545)
    Or, just don't depend on the embedded Android VPN and move to a MicroVPN that does not use the Native VPN client. Citrix Netscaler and other SSL VPN venders offer this and it has much better battery life and device performance in general since you are not using a fat client app.
  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:18PM (#45998717)
    I also don't see the huge issue here. Perhaps this is the fabled clickbait?

    If an app is malicious and running on a machine, of course it can reroute, or look at data in RAM pre-encryption, or a number of other things.

    If you want to be more secure, then only do secure comms on a trusted network, where any VPN routing is done outside of your potentially compromised device, and other routes are blocked.

  • by naughtynaughty (1154069) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:28PM (#45998769)
    In this case the assertion is that a malicious app that doesn't have root privileges can re-route traffic. Apps without root can't reroute traffic, or look at RAM, controlled by other apps. If you know of a way for an unprivileged app on a Linux or Windows box to intercept and re-route a VPN connection, let us all know how it is done.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday January 18, 2014 @12:49PM (#45998909) Journal

    If you are competent enough to use MDM on your mobile devices then your end users wouldn't be installing non-approved apps anyway

    Bullshit Apple at least has gone out of their way to make this nearly impossible. Anything you can do to remove access to the App store with any of the MDMs while the device is on the carrier network is either trivially by passed by end users, or also make doing things like installing updates for approved apps completely broken.

    At best you can deny micro VPN connections and sandboxed services when unapproved apps are detected, while possibly acceptable from a security standpoint its kind of closing the barn door after the horses are out for a user perspective. They just paid $5 for their app because they "forgot company policy about not installing other apps," and now your telling them they can't use it? Does not fly well.

    Then there is the little matter of the fact you can't micro VPN just anything on IOS, unless its an in house app or the app vendor is willing to make ipks available, you are SOL. Which leaves you going back to things like AnyConnect or the builtin IPSec VPN; followed shortly by the users crying about how hard it is to type their password when they need to connect, so you say will okay we can use certificate only authentication but now we need a strong password on the device, and reasonable lock screen timeout, so we know its you and not the guy who grabbed it after you left in on the seat of the bus. When you do that they really pitch a fit.

    IOS devices are a disaster in terms of DLP and asset management.

    Things are a tad bit better on the Android side of the house with regard to MDM, yes. I am not so sure its much better on the over all security. There seems to be lots more malware in the wild.

    As far as I know from a little testing with MDM demos provided by vendors and my contacts most of them fail utterly to actually detect rooted devices. They typically look for pirate ( as in radio, not warez) app stores and root tools. They often can't tell the kernel has been modified, boot loader is unlocked, etc if minor efforts to conceal the usual tools are under taken. As Corporate MDM becomes more common the rooting community is going to start making kits that are evasive and is almost sure to succeed given the current state of MDM. To say nothing of the true malware authors out there are probably already doing.

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