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Big hole in Android phones

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Check Point’s mobile security research team has discovered Certifi-gate, a vulnerability that allows applications to gain illegitimate privileged access rights and attackers can exploit Certifi-gate to gain unrestricted device access.

Pure-play security vendor Check Point Software Technologies has announced that its mobile security research team discovered a vulnerability in Android that affects devices made by major manufacturers, including LG, Samsung, HTC and ZTE. The team disclosed its findings during a briefing session at Black Hat USA 2015 in Las Vegas, NV yesterday.

Certifi-gate” is a vulnerability that allows applications to gain illegitimate privileged access rights which are typically used by remote support applications that are either pre-installed or personally installed on the device.  Attackers can exploit Certifi-gate to gain unrestricted device access, allowing them to steal personal data, track device locations, turn on microphones to record conversations, and more.

Android offers no way to revoke the certificates that are providing privileged permissions.  Left unpatched, and with no reasonable workaround, devices are exposed right out of the box. All affected vendors were notified by Check Point about Certifi-gate and have begun releasing updates. The vulnerability cannot be fixed, and can only be updated when a new software build is pushed to the device – a notoriously slow process. Android also offers no way to revoke certificates used to sign vulnerable plugins.

In July, Vodacom, South Africa largest telecoms service provider, reported that it had 6.1 million Android users on its network, far more than the second-placed BlackBerry, with 2.2 million users, and reflecting a massive increase from the 1.4 million Android users it reported in 2013. This represents more than 60% of its subscriber base and places Android in the top position among service providers in South Africa.

“Every day, people around the globe use mobile devices to manage important aspects of their lives: they access work email, manage bank accounts, and track health information,” said Doros Hadjizenonos, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa. “The problem is, they rarely stop to think about whether their data is secure. This vulnerability is very easily exploited, and can lead to the loss and dissemination of a user’s personal data. It’s time to take mobile security seriously.”

Android users can check to see if their device is vulnerable to Certifi-gate by downloading this free Check Point Certfi-gate scanner app in Google Play.

The Company launched Check Point Mobile Threat Prevention, a new mobile security solution enterprises can use to battle the evolving mobile threat environment and to detect threats such as Certifi-gate, malicious apps, Man-in-the-Middle attacks and more. With the highest level of security for stopping threats on iOS and Android, the solution delivers real-time visibility and threat intelligence into an organisation’s existing security and mobility infrastructures. Deployment is easy and not only has integration into an organisations mobility and security infrastructure but it also provides a transparent user experience that maintains privacy and performance.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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